Harry Belafonte

Play Me

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Harry Belafonte's 21-year association with RCA ended with this generally weak collection of ballads. Reverting back to his 1968-71 studio albums, Belafonte was still in good voice, but the production and arrangements were limp and unchallenging. The most familiar songs on the album included two written by Neil Diamond (the title track and "Morningside") and two by Don McLean ("And I Love You So" and "Empty Chairs.") Eloise Laws is pictured prominently on the rear liner, although she is featured in a duet with Belafonte only on "Long Long Time." It was apparent by this time that Harry Belafonte neither desired nor needed commercial success from phonograph records. By 1973 he was a world-renowned superstar with nothing left to prove. He had lost his desire, for the time being, for reaching out to other cultures and exploring their musical styles. His attention had shifted to politics and civil rights, and his concert tours, although well-crafted, started to take on a mundane sameness. It would be four years before he recorded another studio album and eight until one was issued in the U.S.