Harry Belafonte (vcl), Dennis Farnon (arr, cond), Don Fagerquist, Roy Eldridge (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Bump Myers, Plas Johnson, Ben Webster (ts), Jimmy Rowles, Hank Jones (p), Laurindo Almeida, Howard Roberts (g), Red Callender (b), Osie Johnson (d)
Reference: BMCD 1629
Bar code: 8427328016292
Includes a 20-page booklet with accurate recording details, extensive annotations, original liner-notes and very rare photos.
This compelling set of vocal blues tunes by Harry Belafonte came as a pleasant surprise in his career. Never before had he sung on records as he did for this 1958 album. There is still much of the performer and the folk singer in his basic presentation here, but there is also rawness and fervor for the blues feeling.
Backed appropriately by superior groups, featuring outstanding jazz soloists Belafonte always dug jazzhe manages to come through as a fine, warm, moving blues singer of emotional smoothness and control. Included for comparison are six rare tracks that launched his brief career as a jazz-oriented singer in 1949, and an original Belafonte blues in two parts: The Blues is Man, recorded in 1955.
01. A Fool for You
02. Losing Hand
03. One for My Baby
04. In the Evenin Mama
05. Hallelujah I Love Her So
06. The Way that I Feel
07. Cotton Fields
08. God Bless the Child
09. Mary Ann
10. Sinners Prayer
11. Fare Thee Well
12. Lean on Me (*) Bonus Track
13. Recognition (*) Bonus Track
14. Whispering (*) Bonus Track
15. I Still Get a Thrill (*) Bonus Track
16. Night Has a Thousand Eyes (*) Bonus Track
17. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (*) Bonus Track
18. The Blues Is Man [Part I] (*) Bonus Track
19. The Blues Is Man [Part II] (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 68:00 min. approx.
Tracks #1-11 originally issued as RCA LSP-1972
Harry Belafonte sings in all tracks backed by:
Personnel on tracks #1,5 & 9:
Dennis Farnon (leader, arranger & conductor), Don Fagerquist (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Bump Myers (ts), Jimmy Rowles (p), Laurindo Almeida, Howard Roberts (g), Red Callender (b), Jack Sperling (d).
Recorded in Hollywood, California, on June 7, 1958
Personnel on tracks #2,3,7,8 & 10:
Dennis Farnon (leader, arranger & conductor), Don Fagerquist (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Plas Johnson (ts), Jimmy Rowles (p), Howard Roberts (g), Red Callender (b), Jack Sperling (d).
Recorded in Hollywood, California, on June 5, 1958
Personnel on track #4:
Alan Greene (leader & conductor), Charles C. Greene (p), Millard Thomas (g), Norman Keenan (b), George Guadango (d).
Recorded in New York City, on January 29, 1958
Personnel on tracks #6 & 11:
Bob Corman (leader & conductor), Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster (ts), Hank Jones (p), Fred Hellerman (g), Norman Keenan (b), Osie Johnson (d), Danny Barrajanos (perc).
Recorded in New York City, on march 29, 1958
Personnel on tracks #12 & 13:
Howard McGhee Orchestra, feat. Brew Moore (ts).
Recorded in New York City, 1949
Tracks #14 & 15:
Pete Rugolo and his Orchestra.
Recorded in Hollywood, 1949
Tracks #16 & 17:
Zoot Sims (ts), Al Haig (p), Jimmy Raney (g), Tommy Potter (b), Roy Haynes (d).
Recorded in New York, 1950
Tracks #18 & 19:
Orchestra conducted by Tony Scott, feat. Buddy Childers, Maynard Ferguson, Conte Candoli, Conrad Gozzo (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Bud Shank, Jimmy Giuffre, Ted Nash, Herbie Steward, buddy Collette (saxes), Irv Kluger (d), and other top West Coast Jazz names.
Recorded in Hollywood, 1955
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
"After flirting with traditional African-American material in his previous albums, Belafonte, for the first time, devotes an entire album to the blues. However, of the eleven songs, only two could be classified as traditional blues: "In the Evenin' Mama" and "Cotton Fields," the latter given a five minute treatment. Belafonte would take this song on the road as part of his live act for the next decade. Of the other songs, three were covers of Ray Charles standards ("A Fool For You," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Mary Ann"). Another highlight is Belafonte's rendition of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child." [...] Still, it's solid listening, and taken track by track, thoughtful performances. Footnote: this was the first Belafonte album recorded in Stereo."
Cary Ginell -All Music Guide