New York: The Music Room [Keynote Recordings, Inc.], [c. 1940].
Three 10 inch 78 rpm records housed in card sleeves. Oblong 4to. INSCRIBED by Paul Robeson. Red suede cloth stamped in gilt on spine over illustrated front board. Spine separating, wear to extremities. Lacking booklet containing program notes and libretto. Discs fine. Item #235756
Before it became a noted jazz label, Eric Bernay's Keynote Recordings released the left-wing folk of performers like the Almanac Singers and Pete Seeger. This album contains songs written by Ernst Busch (1900-1980), recorded in Barcelona in 1938 and accompanied by the choir and orchestra of the 11th Brigade. This copy is inscribed and signed on the front pastedown by Paul Robeson, who supplied the masters for this release:
"These songs of the Spanish struggle
Deeply reflect the spirit of Democracy.
That spirit like Joe Hill 'never died,'
This album is a 'must.'"
Joe Hill, a rabble-rousing Wobblie executed for murder (most certainly a miscarriage of justice) became a folk-hero after his death. Robeson was known for singing "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night," with its lyric, referenced in his inscription:
I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you and me.
Says I "But Joe, you're ten years dead"
"I never died" said he,
"I never died" said he
Despite its length and revealing reference to Joe Hill, this inscription is generic. The Yale University copy, and at least two other copies at one time or another on the market, contain the exact inscription, and it is probable that Robeson signed a quantity for the publisher. Still, a rare and interesting item.
Price: $1,000.00 Free International Delivery