“Belafonte brought ‘world’ music to the masses, starting with ‘Calypso.’ … By the time these two benefit concerts were performed on April 19th and 20th 1959, Belafonte had amassed a catalog of hits familiar to a wide swath of Americans. … One can argue that originals are the best but not here. No way! Unlike the original pressings mastered from 2-track mix down from the 3-track original tape, Classic Records’ reissue on both 33 1/3 and single-sided 45 RPM records and this new mastering are sourced directly from the 3-track tape. … However, while I didn’t think there was more to get from the tape than what Bernie Grundman got for Classic Records, I think Ryan K. Smith and the Sterling team have done just that, showcased by the utter black QRP backgrounds. … it is among the greatest, if not the greatest live concert recordings ever made and Belafonte’s and the orchestra’s performances make it well-worth revisiting.” Music = 10/11; Sound = 11/11 – Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com.
AllMusic.com writes: “The grandaddy of all live albums, this double LP set captures the excitement of a Harry Belafonte concert at the height of his popularity. Sampled from two consecutive performances of identical material, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall was an anomaly at a time when only comedy albums were recorded outside of the studio environment. It wasn’t the first live album ever made, but it was certainly the first to be a major financial and artistic success. It stayed on the best-selling album charts for over three years and remained in print until RCA discontinued pressing LPs.”
Well, wait no more if you haven’t heard this marvelous record. We’ve gone all out for this deluxe reissue. Starting with premier mastering by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound from the original analog tapes. Then plating and presssing by Gary Salstrom and the crew at Quality Record Pressings, where the finest quality LPs in the world are pressed. But it doesn’t stop there: We’ve enhanced the original studio photography and wrapped up the whole package in a deluxe “old-school” tip-on gatefold jacket from Stoughton Printing!
Belafonte’s mastery in front of an audience was never better displayed than here, a mastery that resulted in him becoming one of the most popular concert draws in history. Producer Bob Bollard and orchestra leader Bob Corman deftly integrated the 47-piece orchestra into the performance but knew when to lie back to let Belafonte sing, accompanied by a small combo of two guitars, bass, and percussion. The concert is divided in three sections: “Moods of the American Negro,” “In the Caribbean,” and “Around the World.” All the hits are here: “Day O,” “Jamaica Farewell,” “Mama Look a Boo Boo,” and others, plus calypso, folk songs, chain gang songs, spirituals, and songs from other lands, representing a veritable best-of package of Belafonte’s first decade with RCA Victor.
From the opening trumpet fanfare and brief orchestral overture to the epic 12-minute version of “Matilda” (which set a standard for audience participation), the album never lets up. It is exciting, poignant, thrilling, intimate, and at times, spontaneously hilarious. Have a seat, sip a beverage and enjoy!
Act 1: The Moods of the American Negro
Introduction – Darlin’ Cora
Take My Mother Home
The Marching Saints
Act 2: In The Caribbean
All My Trials
Mama Look A Boo Boo
Come Back Liza
Act 3: Round The World
Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu Paloma