An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte's staggering talent, good looks, and masterful assimilation of folk, jazz, and worldbeat rhythms allowed him to achieve a level of mainstream eminence and crossover popularity virtually unparalleled in the days before the advent of the civil rights movement - a cultural uprising which he himself helped spearhead.
Belafonte´s second album includes songs featured in the Broadway production of "Three for Tonight", which starred Belafonte along with Gower and Marge Champion. The collection again featured a variety of material, which would become a hallmark with his albums up until the mid-1960s. But now, for the first time, the power of Belafonte's interpretive skills become apparent, especially with songs culled from field recordings of chain gangs and southern prisons. "Jump Down, Spin Around" and "Sylvie" were both popularized by Leadbelly. The hammer song "Water Boy" and the spirituals "Take My Mother Home" and "Noah" are among the most powerful performances in Belafonte's career. Also included is Belafonte's second recording of one of his most requested songs, the calypso "Matilda." This version was far superior to his first effort, released only on a single in 1953. This album was swept along with the success of Belafonte's next release, the million-selling "Calypso", and was #1 on Billboard's album charts for six weeks, remaining on the charts for over a year.
Harry Belafonte - Belafonte (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included)