Harry Belafonte


Harry Belafonte

After my fascination with Spike Jones, the next pre-Beatle music frenzy that I experienced was Harry Belafonte.  My Mother was likely the purchaser of his definitive “Calypso” album (RCA US LP LPM 1248) – and somehow it ended up on my turntable, in between incessant playing of Spike Jones records.  Our home also had a “Mama Look At Bubu” RCA US 45.

No way did my 5-year-old brain even begin to comprehend the Jamaica-cum-NYC patois language of the calypso-enriched Mr. Belafonte!

LP                MARK TWAIN AND OTHER FOLK FAVORITES                 RCA US           LPM 1022

1954 12 TRKS mono

LP                BELAFONTE                                                                            RCA US           LSP 1150 (e)

1956 11 TRKS fake stereo

LP                CALYPSO                                                                                 RCA US           LSP 1248 (e)

1956 11 TRKS fake stereo

LP                EVENING WITH BELAFONTE, AN                                       RCA US           LSP 1402 (e)

1957 11 TRKS fake stereo

LP                BELAFONTE SINGS THE BLUES                                        RCA US           LSP 1972

1958 11 TRKS stereo (We may not have had this one, in my childhood collection!)

LP                MY LORD WHAT A MORNIN’                                                 RCA US           LSP 2022

1960 11 TRKS stereo (We may not have had this one, in my childhood collection!)

LP                SWING DAT HAMMER                                                            RCA US           LSP 2194

1960 10 TRKS stereo (We may not have had this one, in my childhood collection!)

LP                JUMP UP CALYPSO                                                               RCA US           LSP 2388

1961? 12 TRKS stereo, aka “Sings Of The Caribbean” (which is what we had at the time)

LP                MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, THE                                                     RCA US           LSP 2449

1961? 9 TRKS stereo (with Belafonte inner-sleeve) featuring Bob Dylan!

LP                MANY MOODS OF                                                                   RCA US           LSP 2574

1962? 11 TRKS stereo

LP                STREETS I HAVE WALKED                                                  RCA US           LSP 2695

1963 12 TRKS stereo

And, of course the great trio of live double albums:

LPx2            AT CARNEGIE HALL                                                              RCA US           LSO 6006

1959 15 TRKS stereo

LPx2            RETURNS TO CARNEGIE HALL                                         RCA US

1960? Stereo (Still searching for a clean 2LP of this, to replace my childhood copy; I do have it on CD!)

LPx2            AT THE GREEK THEATRE                                                    RCA US           LSO 6009

1963 16 TRKS stereo

The Beatles quickly came and washed most of this away.  But I did get my Mother to take me to the local library and find / check out a book about Harry Belafonte!  For one of my young birthdays, I was taken for my first visit to the Greek Theatre to actually see him perform – note sure if it was 1964 or not – I think so!

Listening to my 3CD Japanese “Greatest Hits” 53 track collection, I am struck with how melodramatic some of the songs are!  Yeah, some of the songs are just ‘folk songs’ sung in a dramatic style, but…some of it seemed inappropriate for a kid – which is what I was when I first heard this stuff!

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