This isn't one of the most-often played patriotic songs, though it's fairly known, probably most for Frank Sinatra's version. But this version of "The House I Live In" is my favorite.
The recording is from the great baritone Paul Robeson. And I love it not only for the richness, resonance and power of his performance -- which, okay, you could say about pretty much any Paul Robeson recording -- rather than the more ethereal interpretation the song gets, but also for the context of such deep patriotism offset by the Robeson's history of being blacklisted and denied even a passport. He ultimately transcended all this and had his right to travel returned in 1958. This recording came after that.
Robeson had a remarkable career. He was an All-American football player at Rutgers, where he was valedictorian. He got his law degree at Columbia, while playing in the NFL. He starred in the film of Show Boat, singing the legendary "Ol' Man River" (and starred in four stage production of it), starred in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones and played Othello on London's West End. And a great deal more. He was also politically active in civil rights, fought fascism, and was associated with communism. Which ultimately led to his blacklisting.
Yet he made it through. Including subsequently a famous concert at Carnegie Hall.
Here's his tribute to his country.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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