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Very Best of Harry Belafonte Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, November 6, 2001
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  • Very Best of Harry Belafonte
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  • Calypso + Belafonte Sings Of The Caribbean + 3 Bonus Tracks
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  • 8 Classic Albums - Harry Belafonte
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Editorial Reviews

The first single-disc anthology of Belafonte's RCA classics in more than a decade! His '50s hits Banana Boat (Day-O); Mary's Boy Child; Mama Look at Bubu; Jamaica Farewell; Cocoanut Woman; Island in the Sun; Scarlet Ribbons (for Her Hair); Gomen Nasai (Forgive Me) , and Hold 'em Joe join I'm Just a Country Boy; Cotton Fields; Two Brothers; Angelina , and more. 22 tracks, three of 'em unreleased!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: November 6, 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005RDCD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,505 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Your assignment: Review the singles and album tracks Harry laid down for RCA between 1952 and 1970. Pick 22 selections which represent his Calypso energy, his ballad sensitivity, his race, his beliefs, his pop market hits during the height of his career (1956-62, in my opinion.) Throw in an early side or two, a novelty song or two. The people with that assignment ended up with this CD. I would have created one with at least six different songs. So would anybody. As some other reviewers have noted, it is inexplicable that "Matilda" and "Turn Around" and "Kingston Market" and maybe "Abraham, Martin and John" are not here. They would have been wiser choices, for my tastes, than "Done Laid Around" and "I'm Just a Country Boy" and "Hold 'em Joe" and "Two Brothers" and perhaps even "Bam Bam Bamba" which is Harry's version of "La Bamba", made famous in 1958 (two years later) by the late Ritchie Valens. However, there are many fine performances here: "Day-O" and "Angelina" and "Jump Down Spin Around" and "Jump in the Line" and "Jamaica Farewell" and "Island in the Sun" and "Man Smart" make the CD worth owning if you lack them on other Harry discs. "Scarlet Ribbons" from 1952 and "Mary's Boy Child" from '56 close the album on a solemn note. Was it a good choice to have the slow songs outnumber the catchy ones? Personal taste rules. Was it wise to lay out the songs in this order, which is not strictly chronological, and in fact, to me, has no obvious sense to it? Personal taste again. I found my CD at a bargain price, about half the current retail amount, so I am content. But this isn't the complete and total one-disc best of Belafonte it should have been. And since he didn't end his RCA contract until 1970, but the disc has no song younger than 1961 on it, it appears the compilers are telling us that HB produced not a single song in nine years worthy of inclusion. I find that hard to believe. Still, this looks like the best overall Harry CD on the market right now.
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Format: Audio CD
A well-packed CD with sound much improved from the old RCA Greatest Hits volumes, but two glaring omissions cost this compilation a five-star rating : where is "Matilda" and "Turn Around"? The search for the definitive one-disk Belafonte anthology goes on...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard the songs Day-O and Jump in the Line on Beetlejuice and found myself singing them at work--so i decided to buy the CD. When I looked it up I decided to buy this CD rather than the Beetlejuice soundtrack so I could hear more of his work. The other songs are VERY VERY different from the two I had heard before, but I enjoyed them all. It is an excellent CD. I especially like the way Belafonte sings Gomen Nasai (Forgive Me), it is an interesting interpretation for a Japanese song.
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Format: Audio CD
This is without a doubt his best single disc collection, and with a written history in the booklet. Obviously it's missing a few key songs, but at 22 tracks it's hard to complain. Most of his best songs are here, including "Land Of The Sea And Sun", "Jump In The Line", "Cocoanut Woman", "Jamaica Farewell", "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)", and his early favorite "Day-O". Plus there's the Christmas time classic "Mary's Boy Child". Of what's not here, I miss "Scratch, Scratch" the most. His slower songs are some of the best ever, but it's his more upbeat ones that are so fun to sing along with, regardless of whether you're 7, or 57.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like another reviewer, I thought of buying the Beetlejuice soundtrack to hear his two famous songs, Day-O and Jump in the Line. I'm so glad I bought this CD instead. I enjoy most of the songs, and there is only one that I really don't like (Angelique-O, sounds like he's preaching about the old-school idea of the enslaved-housewife, but a catchy tune). He seems to come back around with his Man Smart, Woman Smarter song. One song women-bashes, then the next man-bashes, go figure. My favorite song is Angelina and so many of the songs make ya wanna get up and dance around and sing along. Most of the slow songs give insight to the sensitivity of Mr. Belfonte. Definately a fun CD that is sure to be a party hit.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First thing's first, not 100% of this album deserves 5 stars. 1 song is downright painful, a little over 1/2 are ok, and the rest are incredible. I was expecting 20-ish tracks just like my favorite upbeat calypso songs. That is not what this album is. It also includes Belafonte's slower songs, many of which are the album's low points.

So why in the world would I give 5 starts for such a lackluster combination? Because those songs that are great make the whole purchase well worth it. The stand-out tracks are so good and so infectious that I had to stop listening to the album for a few days because I couldn't stop singing them to myself. Fun, fun, fun music!

I'd list which songs I think are worth it so you can just buy those tracks if you agree with this review, but I'm sure opinions will differ as to which are the best tracks. Also, some tracks I didn't think I'd like have become my favorites after subsequent listenings.

Bottom line: I'm very happy with my purchase of this album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A most distinctive singer. His clear mellow voice combined with that Jamaican accent is a perfect vehicle to express the range of emotions contained in his Caribbean flavored songs. Then there are other songs, less exotic, but still delivered from the heart. There are dozens Harry Belafonte albums, but this one represents an accurate cross section of what the man is capable of. No regrets.
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