Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harry Belafonte

A recent charity shop find. Rather battered sleeve and scratched vinyl but always interesting to hear Harry's versions of old calypsos. A few well known ones here and some not so well known like Coconut Woman and Scratch Scratch which are really quite good despite the heavenly choir in the background. Not a patch on the real thing but worth a listen.

Side One - Scratch Scratch - Lucy's Door - Cordelia Brown - Don't Ever Love Me - Love, Love Alone - Coacoanut Woman.
Side Two - Haiti Cherie - Judy Drownded - Island In The Sun - Angelique - lead Man Holler.

Wikipedia says -

"Belafonte started his career in music as a club singer in New York, to pay for his acting classes. The first time he appeared in front of an audience he was backed by the Charlie Parker band, which included Charlie Parker himself, Max Roach, and Miles Davis among others. At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career on the Roost label in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress' American folk songs archives. With guitarist and friend Millard Thomas, Belafonte soon made his debut at the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard. In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor.

His first wide-release single, which went on to become his "signature" song with audience participation in virtually all his live performances, was "Matilda", recorded April 27, 1953. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) became the first LP to sell over 1 million copies (Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons", both singles, had previously surpassed the 1 million mark). The album is number four on Billboard's "Top 100 Album" list for having spent 31 weeks at number 1, 58 weeks in the top ten, and 99 weeks on the U.S. charts. The album introduced American audiences to Calypso music (which had originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 20th century) and Belafonte was dubbed the "King of Calypso," a title he wore with some reservations, since he had no claims to any Calypso Monarch titles."

Harry Belafonte - Side One

Harry Belafonte - Side Two

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