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.
"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
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