Formed by folk singer/entertainer Harry Belafonte in 1957, this vocal group consisting of twelve men accompanied Belafonte during his tours in the late '50s and early '60s. Led by Robert Corman, Belafonte's then composer and arranger, the group performed spirituals, folk songs, hymns, work songs, sea chanteys, and just about every other subgenre of American folk music (Belafonte himself was involved in name only). Their debut album was stunning -- a cornucopia of styles which paralleled that of their peripatetic mentor who gave them their name. Two of the songs, the chain gang song "Swing Dat Hammer" and the love song "Who's Gonna Be Your Man," were recorded by Belafonte as well. What is amazing about the album is the versatility needed to perform the stirring frontier work song "The Ox Drivers," the tender love song "The Red Rosey Bush," and the popular nonsensical children's song "My Hat" without seeming forced.
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