Blog: Plant Your Dream!
by YourEnchantedGardener

Join Us?

Paul Robinson,
is one signer of the Declaration
of Interdependence (Di)

Date:   7/4/2005 11:34:25 AM   ( 13 y ) ... viewed 1035 times

I am inspired this morning
of July 4 to resurrect
the Declaration of interdepence network.

This is a Foundation link
for Joining the Enchanted Garden Club.
See my main page to links to both

When You say the words to the DI,
or dance them in your own way,
you can take to mind on of its signers,
A good America to recall on this day of Freedom.

Here are the words to the DI:

Folksinger Earl Robinson
is one of more than 300
Declaration Signers.

The "Composers Collective" and the Popular "Ballad for Americans"
Guthrie was not alone in combining patriotism and radicalism during the Depression and World War II. In that period of the Popular Front, many American composers, novelists, artists and playwrights engaged in similar projects. In the early thirties, for example, a group of young composers and musicians -- including Marc Blitzstein (author of the musical "The Cradle Will Rock"), Charles Seeger (a well-known composer and musicologist and father of folksinger Pete Seeger), and Aaron Copland -- formed the "composers collective" to write music that would serve the cause of the working class. They turned to American roots and folk music for inspiration. Many of their compositions --including Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Lincoln Portrait" -- are now patriotic musical standards, regularly performed at major civic events.

Earl Robinson was a member of the composers collective who pioneered the effort to combine patriotism and progressivism. In 1939, he teamed with lyricist John La Touche to write "Ballad for Americans" that was performed on the CBS radio network by Paul Robeson, accompanied by chorus and orchestra. This 11-minute cantata provided a musical review of American history, depicted as a struggle between the "nobodies who are everybody" and an elite who failed to understand the real, democratic essence of America.

Robeson, at the time one of the best known performers on the world stage, became, through this work, a voice of America. Broadcasts and recordings of "Ballad for Americans" (by Bing Crosby as well as Robeson) were immensely popular. In the summer of 1940, it was performed at the national conventions of both the Republican and Communist parties. The work soon became a staple in school choral performances, but it was literally ripped out of many public school songbooks after Robinson and Robeson were identified with the radical left and blacklisted during the McCarthy period. Since then, however, "Ballad for Americans" has been periodically revived, notably during the bicentennial celebration in 1976, when a number of pop and country singers performed it in concerts and on TV.

"The House I Live In"
During World War II, with lyricist Lewis Allen, Robinson co-authored another patriotic hit, "The House I Live In." Its lyrics asked, and then answered, the question: "What is America to me?", posed in the first line of the song.

The song evokes America
as place where all races can live freely,
where one can speak one's mind,
where the cities as well
as the natural landscapes are beautiful.

The song was made a hit by Frank Sinatra in 1945.
Sinatra also starred in an Oscar-winning movie short
-- written by Albert Maltz, later one of the Hollywood Ten -
- in which he sang "The House I Live In" to challenge bigotry,
represented in the movie by a gang of kids who had
roughed up a Jewish boy.

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