Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte [1973 Camden]

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With Harry Belafonte's career with RCA all but over, the company's budget label, Camden, issued this brief retrospective of his career. Up to this point, RCA had not even issued a greatest-hits package, unusual for an artist so durable. And despite the fact that all of the tracks are rather obscure album cuts (dating from 1956 to 1971), the package suffices as a stylistic introduction to Belafonte's work. Although it doesn't include any of his hits ("Day O," "Jamaica Farewell," etc.), it does provide a tidy representation of the two decades he spent with the label. The nine tracks are from some of Belafonte's most artistically successful albums, all of the tracks previously issued. Calypso is represented by "Angelina" from Jump Up Calypso and "Cocoanut Woman" from Calypso in Brass. The spiritual "Buked and Scorned" is from My Lord, What a Mornin' while the chilling "Diamond Joe" is from Swing Dat Hammer. A couple of surprises are "Roll On, Buddy" from On Campus and even a track from the live Greek Theater album, "Windin' Road." The earliest track, Leadbelly's "Jump Down, Spin Around," comes from the 1956 Belafonte album. The latter track is marred by RCA's "reprocessed stereo" mangling.