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Essential Harry Belafonte

The Essential Harry Belafonte

by Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte's influence on pop music is much more far reaching then many realize, as he was one of the first performers to bring worldbeat rhythms to the U.S. charts in the postwar era. Born in Harlem, but spending a good part of his childhood in his mother's native Jamaica, Belafonte grew up straddling cultures and musical styles, and bridging perceived


Harry Belafonte's influence on pop music is much more far reaching then many realize, as he was one of the first performers to bring worldbeat rhythms to the U.S. charts in the postwar era. Born in Harlem, but spending a good part of his childhood in his mother's native Jamaica, Belafonte grew up straddling cultures and musical styles, and bridging perceived differences became his calling card as an entertainer. His silky smooth mixture of jazz, folk, pop, and art song, often with impossibly infectious West Indies-styled accompaniment, coupled with his charismatic good looks and easy, hip coolness and sharp racial and political sense meant he was never reduced to being a mere commodity, even though he spent his whole career on major labels. This generous two-disc set (both discs track in at over 70 minutes) is the first affordable cross-label Belafonte collection to combine highlights from his stays at both the RCA and CBS labels, and the selections included here, spanning the years 1952 to 1977, were made by Belafonte himself. There's very little to quibble about (although one wonders about including a live version of his biggest hit, "Banana Boat Song (Day O)," instead of the original single version), and this thoughtfully sequenced set is easily the best introduction to the full range of his work currently on the market. Highlights are many, but include a 20-year-old Bob Dylan sitting in on harmonica for 1962's "Midnight Special," a defining version of Irving Burgie's gorgeous "Jamaica Farewell" from 1956, the adventurous worldbeat arrangement of "Turn the World Around" from 1977, an emotionally balanced rendition of Pete Seeger's haunting "Those Three Were on My Mind" from 1967, and an irresistible horn-led version of "Jump in the Line" from 1966's Calypso in Brass album. Belafonte's versatility may surprise some casual listeners who are only familiar with "Day O," and this set underscores his unique ability to find pop success with artful and socially committed material. Innovative, intelligent, and unceasingly creative, Belafonte is long overdue for a critical reappraisal.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Harry Belafonte   Primary Artist,Vocals
William Eaton   Conductor
Tony Scott   Flute,Leader
Ray Charles   Choir, Chorus
Bob Dylan   Harmonica
Maynard Ferguson   Trumpet
Jimmy Giuffre   Saxophone
Lena Horne   Vocals
Mundell Lowe   Guitar
Joe Venuti   Marimbas
Pete Candoli   Trumpet
Howard Johnson   Tuba
Lou McGarity   Trombone
Jay Berliner   Guitar
Ralph MacDonald   Percussion,Conga
Norma Zimmer   Choir, Chorus
Si Zentner   Trombone
Brock Peters   Choir, Chorus
Burgess   Guitar
Victor Garber   Saxophone
Eugene Wright   Bass
Fred Jacobs   Trumpet
Victor Arno   Violin
Israel Baker   Violin
Danny Barrajanos   Bongos,Conga
Maurice Bialkin   Cello
Ralph Brewster   Choir, Chorus
Percy Brice   Drums
Danny Cahn   Trumpet
Ernie Calabria   Guitar
Larry Campbell   Vocals
Frantz Casseus   Guitar
Francisco Centeno   Bass
Vivian Cherry   Vocals
Marion Childers   Trumpet
Babe Clarke   Alto Saxophone
Jack Dumont   Saxophone
Bob Freedman   Conductor
Harry Glickman   Violin
Milt Grayson   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Lani Groves   Vocals
Hall   Bass
Hilda Harris   Vocals
Henri René   Leader
Hugo Winterhalter   Leader
Jules Jacob   Saxophone
Jimmy Jones   Conductor
Norman Keenan   Bass
Harry Klee   Saxophone
Irv Kluger   Drums
Scott Kuney   Guitar
William (Billy) Lee   Choir, Chorus
Jack Lesberg   Bass
Yvonne Lewis   Vocals
Keith Loving   Guitar
Jane Martin   Choir, Chorus
Kelly Martin   Drums
Yolanda McCullough   Vocals
Harry Melnikoff   Violin
Brian Moore   Keyboards
Bernie Parks   Choir, Chorus
Romeo Penque   Clarinet
Randy Peyton Quartet   Vocals
Jack Pleis   Piano
Dom Um Romão   Percussion
Albertine Robinson   Vocals
Claudio Roditi   Trumpet
Mike Rubin   Bass
Art Ryerson   Guitar
William Salter   Bass
Dom Salvador   Keyboards
Eddie Sauter   Leader
Schackman   Guitar
Wilbur Schwartz   Saxophone
Mauricio Smith   Flute,Alto Saxophone
David Spinozza   Guitar
Steve Thornton   Bongos,Conga
Betty Wand   Choir, Chorus
Joseph B. Wilder   Trumpet
Raphael Boguslav   Guitar
Ennio Bologinini   Cello
William A. Glover   Choir, Chorus
Theo M. Nash   Saxophone
Thomas Parshley   Flute
Sherman Sneed   Choir, Chorus
Ray Kellogg   Choir, Chorus
Eileen Wilson   Choir, Chorus
Carl Prager   Clarinet
Robert Stevens   Choir, Chorus
Herman Alpert   Bass
Sidney Brecher   Viola
Alex Gershunoff   Saxophone
Jack Greenberg   Clarinet
Edward Kuczborski   Trombone
Leopoldo Pineda   Trombone
James Miller   Choir, Chorus
Irving Burgie   Choir, Chorus
Arnold Fishkind   Bass
Frank Guerrero   Bongos
Charlie Margulis   Trumpet
Stewart M. Bair   Choir, Chorus
Dorothy McCarty   Choir, Chorus
Gil Mershon   Choir, Chorus
William F. "Bill" Reeve   Choir, Chorus
Joseph Reilick   Viola
Alan Sokoloff   Choir, Chorus
Max Tartasky   Violin
Murray Kane   Choir, Chorus
John Nielsen   Choir, Chorus
Gloria Turner   Vocals
Miriam Workman   Choir, Chorus
Cal Sexton   Choir, Chorus
Buster Davis   Piano
Frank Floyd   Vocals
Ted Nash   Saxophone
Charles Schroeder   Choir, Chorus
Louis Singer   Percussion
William Slater   Bass
Mary Dean   Choir, Chorus
Ada Beth Lee   Choir, Chorus
Attilio DePalma   French Horn
Jack Brown   Choir, Chorus
Scott Gibson   Choir, Chorus
Bill Eaton   Leader
Melvin W. Edmondson   Vocals
Audrey Marsh   Choir, Chorus
Jose Rodrigues   Trombone
Bob R. Hamlin   Choir, Chorus
Bob Corman   Conductor,Leader
Robert M. Rosengarden   Drums
Jacqueline Allan   Choir, Chorus
Donald Alpert   Drums
James D. Hall   Guitar
Virginia Rees   Choir, Chorus
Francis L. "Joe" Howard   Trombone
Gene Lanham   Choir, Chorus
Marjorie Call   Harp
Gilbert E. Adkins   Choir, Chorus
Winslowe Daniel Barranjos   Conga
Edwin Brown   Oboe
Felix Buldrini   Violin
Rudolfo Curbelo   Drums
Faye Devlin   Choir, Chorus
John DiJanni   Viola
Wally Ferenz   Conga
Nathan Foodman   Drums
Stephen Harbachick   Choir, Chorus
Jasha Herzog   Violin
Jerome G. Kasin   Violin
Martin Lake   Cello
Mel Larned   Choir, Chorus
Robert S. Levine   Violin
Edwin Lindstroem   Choir, Chorus
Donald Lipsey   Trumpet
Arnold Manchester   Percussion
Thora Mathiason   Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Mullner   Choir, Chorus
Tony Parris   Choir, Chorus
Frank Raye   Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Rinker   Choir, Chorus
Noah Rodriguez   Bongos
Earl Rogers   Choir, Chorus
Gustave Rosseels   Violin
E.C. Shank   Saxophone
Herbert L. Stubbs   Choir, Chorus
Leroy B. Thompson   Choir, Chorus
Rodester Timmons   Choir, Chorus
Robert Walker   Choir, Chorus
Bobby Henson   Choir, Chorus
Michael Tobas   Drums
George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher   Choir, Chorus
Howard Glover "Johnny" Johnson   Tuba
Floria Agostini   Harp
Irving D. Barnes   Choir, Chorus
Paul Douglas Franklin   Choir, Chorus
John Hailburton   Trombone
Hal S. Hidley   Piano
Pamela Kordan   Vocals
Samuel R. McCurry   Choir, Chorus
Harry Orlewitz   Violin
Richard Pindle   Choir, Chorus
Jorge Renan   Guitar
Raphael Rosario   Conga
Maxwell Smith   Choir, Chorus
Mildred J. Thomas   Guitar,Leader
Betty Volenec   Vocals
C. Leon Bibb   Choir, Chorus
Arthur Williams   Vocals
Ralph Hunter   Conductor

Technical Credits

Odetta   Composer
William Eaton   Arranger
Harry Belafonte   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Norman Luboff   Composer
Hugo Montenegro   Arranger
Burgess   Composer
Bob Bollard   Producer,Audio Production
Joe Carlton   Producer
Dennis Farnon   Producer
Bob Freedman   Arranger
Robert Freedman   Composer
Hy Grill   Producer
Dave Kapp   Producer
D. McLean   Composer
Jack Pleis   Producer
Phil Ramone   Producer
Dom Salvador   Orchestration
Andy Wiswell   Producer
J. Segal   Composer
H. "Hank" Thomas   Composer
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson   Vocal Arrangements
Harvey Schmidt   Composer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
William Lorin   Composer
Ashley Kahn   Liner Notes
Bill Eaton   Producer
Traditional   Composer
T. Woods   Composer
Tom Jones   Composer
Bridget McGoldrick   Packaging Manager
Edward O. Welker   Producer
C.C. Carter   Composer

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