The Long Road to Freedom: An Anthology of Black Music

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gary Giddins
Harry Belafonte's name is nowhere to be found on the cover of the attractive box that houses The Long Road to Freedom, or on the title page of the 140-page book that accompanies its five CDs -- an example of the modesty and restraint that led him to create this astonishing treasure in the first place. In the late 1950s, when he proposed the idea of recording a history of African-American music from the earliest days of slavery to the close of the 19th century, he was rivaled only by Elvis Presley as RCA's top record seller. RCA's president, George Marek, an uncommonly musical executive who later wrote several important biographies, committed the company to the project, ...
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09/11/2001 CD Original recording remastered, B Good Item may show signs of shelf wear. Booklets may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion ... materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting listeners since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gary Giddins
Harry Belafonte's name is nowhere to be found on the cover of the attractive box that houses The Long Road to Freedom, or on the title page of the 140-page book that accompanies its five CDs -- an example of the modesty and restraint that led him to create this astonishing treasure in the first place. In the late 1950s, when he proposed the idea of recording a history of African-American music from the earliest days of slavery to the close of the 19th century, he was rivaled only by Elvis Presley as RCA's top record seller. RCA's president, George Marek, an uncommonly musical executive who later wrote several important biographies, committed the company to the project, leading to a decade of recording sessions, beginning in 1961. Yet after Marek's death, the project mysteriously died, abandoned and apparently forgotten, for 30 years. It's release now is a major event, certainly the most important of the season. These discs may change the way we hear, understand, and write about black music. Most anthologies of this kind collate old records. Belafonte insisted on researching 300 years of black America's folk music and recording new performances that highlight the music's durability while underscoring historic authenticity. His approach is in the often neglected and misunderstood tradition of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who presented spirituals in concert arrangements in the 1870s -- a conflation of reality and art. He corralled a handful of recording stars (including Joe Williams, heard here at his very best; Gloria Lynne; Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry; and the astonishing Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers), but his most important decision was to recruit the choral director Leonard De Paur, whose arrangements bring this often chilling, inspiring, and, in many instances, largely unknown repertoire to exhilarating life. Sadly, some documentation from the original sessions has apparently been lost, and the book, handsome and informative though it is (with drawings by Charles White, photographs by Roy DeCarava, an interview with Belafonte, and an essay by Mari Evans), fails to investigate the origins of most of the material and neglects to explain why the project was abandoned and the recordings not released for 30 years. The performances, however, arranged by subject and period (Civil War songs, slave songs, chain gang songs, children's songs, and on), speak volumes, and the engineering is beyond cavil. The sound is as robust as if it had been recorded yesterday. These recordings are perhaps best uncovered in sections and savored. But however you listen, it is not to be missed.
Barnes & Noble
Finally released for the first time, The Long Road To Freedom: An Anthology Of Black Music is a historic project seeking to document the music of Black Americans. Spearheaded by Harry Belafonte and recorded from 1961 to 1971, The Long Road To Freedom brings together such illustrious vocal artists as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Joe Williams, Gloria Lynne, and Bessie Jones as well as Belafonte himself, and many more. Together, they interpret songs from the earliest arrival of African-Americans in the 17th century up through the spirituals, blues and folk music that ushered in the cultural musical explosion of the 20th century. This beautiful 5-CD box-set includes 80 digitally mastered and mixed performances, a bonus DVD and 140 page hard-bound book, which includes rare photos, historical illustrations and original art.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/11/2001
  • Label: Buddha
  • UPC: 744659975622
  • Catalog Number: 99756

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ose Yie - Ashanti War Chant - Asofoiatse Nettey (2:17)
  2. 2 Sakadougou - Malinke Ballad - Kan'Nida (5:00)
  3. 3 Ake - Yoruba Work Chant (1:48)
  4. 4 Kufidi M'Pala Bituta - Toko Mzobe (2:02)
  5. 5 Ayilongo -Ghenya Boatmen - Emanuel N'Suba (1:21)
  6. 6 Oba Oba -Homage to a King (1:30)
  7. 7 Okaikoi - Harvest Ceremony (1:21)
  8. 8 Ashiee Tatale - Ga Play Song - Betty Clotty (1:04)
  9. 9 Aja Aja O - Yoruba Fable - Betty Clotty (2:09)
  10. 10 Fakke-Well Shisha Maley - Transitional Hymn (1:52)
  11. 11 Amazing Grace - And the Sermon - Sorrell Brooke (5:36)
  12. 12 How Do You Do, Ev'rybody? - Greeting Shout - Nannie McNeil (3:22)
  13. 13 O, Lord, I'm Waitin' on You - Spiritual - Valentine Pringle (2:31)
  14. 14 Prayer - Spiritual - Bessie Jones (4:41)
  15. 15 Kneebone Bend - Prayer Shout - Bessie Jones (4:09)
  16. 16 Hark 'E Angel - Watcher's Shout (5:10)
  17. 17 Yonder Comes Day - New Year Shout - Bessie Jones (3:17)
  18. 18 Goodbye Ev'rybody - Farewell Shout - Valentine Pringle (2:25)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Tombeau, Tombeau - Leonard DePaur (2:37)
  2. 2 Je M'En Vais Finir Mes Jours - Leonard DePaur (3:54)
  3. 3 Dans un Brigatoire - Leonard DePaur (3:27)
  4. 4 Pour la Belle Layotte - William Eaton (1:21)
  5. 5 Fomme la Dit, Mo Malheuré - Leonard DePaur (3:28)
  6. 6 Miche Banjo - Bamboula - Robert Henson (2:09)
  7. 7 Good Mornin', Good Morning' - "John Canoe" Processional - J. Hamilton Grandison (2:53)
  8. 8 All Roun' de Glory Manger - Erzalene Jenkins (1:50)
  9. 9 Mary, What You Call Yo' Baby? - Erzalene Jenkins (3:05)
  10. 10 Wonderful Councillor - Leonard DePaur (2:07)
  11. 11 Follow the Drinking Gourd (2:46)
  12. 12 Steal Away to Jesus - Leonard DePaur (3:30)
  13. 13 There's a Meetin' Here Tonight - Joseph Crawford (1:53)
  14. 14 Many Thousan' Gone (3:05)
  15. 15 The Colored Volunteere (3:31)
  16. 16 We Look Like Men of War (5:35)
  17. 17 Song of the First Arkansas Volunteers Glory Hallelujah (4:52)
  18. 18 Free at Las' - Joseph Crawford (1:51)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Ol' Lady from Brewster - Children's Song (1:53)
  2. 2 Hallie, Come on! - Woman's Field Holler (1:14)
  3. 3 Run Squirrel, Whoa Mule - Game Song - Thelma Drayton (1:31)
  4. 4 Fox Chase - Mouth Organ - Sonny Terry (3:22)
  5. 5 Chickens Done Crowned - Sunrise Holler - Valentine Pringle (1:39)
  6. 6 'Way Go Lily - Children's Song - African Children's Choir (1:32)
  7. 7 Shine on - Graveyard Holler (1:43)
  8. 8 Grey Goose - Ballad - Bessie Jones (2:47)
  9. 9 Pick a Bale of Cotton - Sonny Terry (5:09)
  10. 10 Li'l Gal, Li'l Gal - Game Song - Bessie Jones (1:24)
  11. 11 Go to Sleepy - Lullaby (1:43)
  12. 12 I Got 'Em - Street Cry - Leonard DePaur (1:54)
  13. 13 Hambone, Hambone - Children's Pattin' - Tyron Cooper (2:42)
  14. 14 Watermelon Man - Blues (1:21)
  15. 15 Fare Thee Well, Oh Honey - Blues (5:49)
  16. 16 Blackberry Woman - Street Cry (1:07)
  17. 17 Easy Rider Blues (Blues) - Al Shackman (5:27)
  18. 18 Oh, Johnny Brown - Ring Game - Sharon G. Williams (1:51)
  19. 19 I Got 'Em - Street Cry - Valentine Pringle (1:14)
  20. 20 Black Woman - Blues (4:07)
  21. 21 Watermelon Man - Street Cry (0:44)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Let the Deal Go Down - Joseph Crawford (4:17)
  2. 2 Betty and Dupree - Brownie McGhee (6:45)
  3. 3 Eas' Man (2:53)
  4. 4 John Henry - Valentine Pringle (3:28)
  5. 5 Boll Weevil (6:07)
  6. 6 Stagolee - Cortez Franklin (5:42)
  7. 7 Joe Turner Blues (4:13)
  8. 8 Honey, Take a Whiff on Me - Ben Carter (3:40)
  9. 9 Go 'Long Muley (3:35)
  10. 10 My Baby in a Guinea Blue Gown - Leonard DePaur (4:40)
  11. 11 Dat Liar - Milt Grayson (6:52)
  12. 12 Finale (0:45)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Ho Boys, Cancha Line 'Em? - Valentine Pringle (2:58)
  2. 2 Good Ir'n (6:03)
  3. 3 Go on, Ol' Gator (3:02)
  4. 4 Doncha Hear Yo' Po' Mother Callin'? (3:44)
  5. 5 River Sounding Chant - Charles Colman (3:17)
  6. 6 Nobody's Business, Lord, But Mine (4:26)
  7. 7 My God Is a Rock (3:04)
  8. 8 We Are Climbin' Jacob's Ladder (2:46)
  9. 9 I Am So Glad (2:28)
  10. 10 I'll Never Turn Back No Mo' - An Excerpt from Dr. King Speech - Irving D. Barnes (6:11)
  11. 11 Lord, I Don't Feel Noways Tired - Howard Roberts (2:35)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Godfrey Cambridge Vocals
Harry Belafonte Vocals
Danny Barker Banjo
Gloria Lynne Track Performer
Hugh Masekela Background Vocals
Ray Nance Percussion
Jimmy Owens Trumpet
Joe Williams Vocals
Warren Covington Trombone
Herman Foster Fiddle, Piano
Solomon Ilori Background Vocals
Ralph MacDonald Percussion
Leon Bibb Vocals
David Nzomo Background Vocals
Bessie Jones Vocals
Danny Barrajanos Percussion
Garnett Brown Trombone
Brownie McGhee Guitar, Vocals
Ernie Calabria Guitar
Barbara Cobb Vocals
Burt Collins Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Leonard DePaur Conductor, Background Vocals
Eileen Gilbert Vocals
Hilda Harris Vocals
Paul Jackson Jr. Vocals
Sonny Morgan Background Vocals
Harvey Phillips Tuba
Walter Raim Guitar
Albertine Robinson Vocals
Al Shackman Guitar
Sonny Terry Harmonica, Vocals
Christine Spencer Vocals
Barbara Webb Vocals
Joseph B. Wilder Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Sharon Williams Vocals
Elayne Jones Drums, Snare Drums
Sherman Sneed Vocals, Background Vocals
John Swallow Baritone Horn
James Ola. Folami Background Vocals
George Roy Hill Vocals
Jonas Gwangwa Background Vocals
Lillian Hayman Track Performer
Robert Whittley Jr. Background Vocals
Gloria Wynder Vocals
Laura Anne Taylor Vocals
Mari Young Vocals
Benito Lara Foster Vocals
Miriam Burton Vocals
George Marshall Vocals
Lisa Huggins Background Vocals
Geraldine Overstreet Vocals
Johnny Patton Vocals
Sorrell Brooke Track Performer
Clyde Turner Background Vocals
Ned Wright Vocals
Earl Baker Vocals
Arthur Williams Vocals
Technical Credits
Harry Belafonte Arranger, Producer, Executive Producer
Herbie Hancock Composer
Danny Barrajanos Executive Producer
Brownie McGhee Composer
Leonard DePaur Arranger, Director
Marian Evans Liner Notes
John Newton Composer
Ernie Oelrich Engineer
Carol Bobolts Art Direction
Ralph Hunter Arranger
Howard Roberts Arranger, Adaptation
Albert C. Pryor III Text
Gil Gilbert Director, Producer
Alex Miller Executive Producer
Traditional Composer
Michael O. Drexler Mastering
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No one with a soul will be untouched by this album

    I first discovered the Anthology about a year ago while strolling through a local B&N and have treasured it ever since. Occasionally, you are lucky enough to find a piece of art that truly sparks every part of your humanity..something that speaks so deeply that listening to it commands the attention of your trembling soul. This music is drawn from the heritage of both centuries and continents, slavery and rebirth, hope and dignity in place of the very denial of a people's humanity. By the time I reached "Yonder Come Day", I wanted to reach back through the past to the people who were most intimate with this music and tell them that they were right! They had every right to hope for a better future! The 21st Century is a far stretch from perfect, but the labors of previous generations of African Americans were not in vain. As you listen to this music and the haunting refrain, you realize that the original singers were reaching forward with their hope and wisdom. There's no greater teacher than pain, and God knows that African Americans have had more than their share. Perhaps that explains why this music is filled with wisdom and hope. This music is more than songs and lyrics, more even than history. This is the core of our humanity struggling and overcoming any obstacle fate throws at us and demanding eternal remembrance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Nothing short of a miracle!

    Belafonte had been inspired by old field recordings in the Library of Congress and, deciding that the quality of some of the recordings left a lot to be desired, he decided to retell the black musical experience in new recordings...which is what you will hear here. As one who has spent innumerable hours straining to decipher those old recordings myself, I must say that Belafonte and crew have done a fantastic job of bringing the music to life, creating a sound that is both satisfying to the modern ear, yet authentic and respectful to the original material. (The music has NOT, for example, been modernized stylistically. Hurrah for that!) Belafonte captured in a modern era what might have been captured in, say, 1866 had modern recording equipment been available. And he prepared himself for this task by speaking with the then modern practitioners of the art: sharecroppers, men in chain gangs, blacks whose parents had been slaves. This fascinating project belongs in every public and private library ...and in the home of anyone who appreciates the rich contribution of African American music to this country's musical heritage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Words Fail

    Words fail to describe how moving, and how revolutionary these recordings are. Belafonte has put together an amazing piece of work here that deserves to be studied for years to come. How this went unreleased for 30 years is a mystery, as these recordings represent a page out of history that has never been musically presented before. Both richly rewarding, as well as challenging, this set is a MUST have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Every Home Should Have One

    You need to see this set to believe it -- the book is heirloom-quality, full of photos, and the music is soul-stirring. This is an encyclopedia of Black Americans' music and should be shared with generations to come.

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