Various Artists – An Easy Christmas (2001)

frontcover1This is just a sampler, full with 20 old and classic christmas songs, performed by many stars in the easy listening style.
You can hear singers like Don McLean, David Bowie, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Perry Como and Al Green.

“This is my most favourite christmas album ever-I had to order a second copy as the first had a scratch on. I listen to it all the time. Not your average Christmas album!”(by miss r aughton)

“Great to listen to while wrapping presents” (by Zoe Bell)

And I guess, I will play this album (amongst others) on December 24, 2016 … Enjoy this romantic and sentimental sampler.

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Tracklist:
01. Andy Williams: Most Wonderful Time Of Year (2001) (Pola/Wyle) 2.34
02. Nat King Cole: Christmas Song (1963) (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (Tormé/Wells) 3.14
03. Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby (1953) (Javits/Springer) 3.26
04. Dean Martin: Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow (1965) (Cahn/Styne) 1.58
05. Judy Garland: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1944) (Martin/Blane) 2.45
06. Harry Belafonte: Mary’s Boy Child (1957) (Hairston) 2.59
07. Bing Crosby: White Christmas (1954) (Berlin) 3.04
08. Al Green: Silent Night (1963) (Gruber/Mohr) 3.19
09. Crystal Gayle: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer (1996) (Marks) 2.57
10. Anne Murray: Snowbird (1978) (MacLellan) 2.11
11. Don McLean: Winter Wonderland (1991) (Bernard/Smith) 2.54
12. Charles Brown: Please Come Home For Christmas (Christmas Finds Me Oh So Sad) (1961) (Brown/Redd) 3.18
13. Doris Day: I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1964) (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 2.27
14. Andy Williams: Sleigh Ride (live) (2001) (Anderson) 2.22
15. Crystal Gayle: Silver Bells (1996) (Livingston/Evans) 4.09
16. Don McLean: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1991) (Coots/Gillespie) 3.06
17. Perry Como: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1959)(Traditional) 2.56
18. Al Green: What Christmas Means To Me (1963) (Story/Gaye/ Gordy) 3.44
19. Bing Crosby + David Bowie: Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (1977) (Fraser/Grossman/Alan Kohan/Simeone/Davis/Onorati) 2.38
20. Michael Ball: Happy New Year (1999) (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 4.18

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Harry Belafonte – Ballads, Blues And Boasters (1964)

frontcover1Ballads, Blues and Boasters is an album by Harry Belafonte, released in 1964.

In the liner notes to this album, Harry Belafonte is credited with selecting songs “that are an integral part of life…songs with a beat and mood and feeling that speak of people.” Even though his records were now conveniently dumped into the “Male Vocalists” section of record stores, Belafonte continued to explore the human condition through roots musical forms. Although the album contains work songs (“Black Betty”) and even a protest number (“Back of the Bus”), the mood of this album is generally upbeat, unlike the somber depiction of pain and misery of Swing Dat Hammer. Highlights range from the rousing gospel numbers “Ananias” and “John the Revelator” to a uniquely catchy interpretation of Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.” Belafonte acknowledges contemporary folk singer-songwriters with his versions of Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds” and Mark Spoelstra’s “My Love is a Dewdrop.” (by Cary Ginell)

This is another fine album by Harry Belafonte … a very unique musician … he gave us so mucg … listen to this album and you´ll know what I mean.

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Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King

Personnel:
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Jay Berliner (guitar)
Percy Brice (drums)
Ernie Calabria (guitar)
John Cartwright (bass)
Paul Griffin (organ)
Ralph MacDonald (percussion)
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Tracklist:
01. Tone The Bell Easy (Eaton) 3.20
02. Blue Willow Moan (Eaton) 3.34
03. Ananias (Eaton) 2.50
04. Boy (Tipton/Lewis) 3.49
05. My Love Is A Dewdrop (Spoelstra) 3.25
06. Back Of The Bus (Traditional/Neblett) 3.25
07. Pastures Of Plenty (Guthrie) 3.38
08. John The Revelator (Traditional/Neblett) 3.40
09. Four Strong Winds (Tyson) 2.53
10. Black Betty (Traditional/Dunham) 4.13
11. Big Boat Up The River (Traditional) 4.06

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Harry Belafonte – Mark Twain And Other Folk Favorites (1954)

FrontCover1Harold George “Harry” Bellanfanti, Jr. (born March 1, 1927), better known as Harry Belafonte, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million selling album by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O”. He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger’s hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957) and Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and ’60s, and one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s confidants. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the anti-apartheid movement and USA for Africa. Since 1987 he has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In recent years he has been a vocal critic of the policies of both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidential administrations. Harry Belafonte now acts as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues.

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Harry Belafonte, 1954

Belafonte has won three Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award,[3] and a Tony Award. In 1989 he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. In 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards. In March 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. at Lying-in Hospital on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York, the son of Melvine (née Love), a housekeeper of Jamaican descent, and Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., a Martiniquan who worked as a chef. His mother was born in Jamaica, the child of a Scottish white mother and a black father. His father also was born in Jamaica, the child of a black mother and Dutch Jewish father of Sephardi origins. This is all Harry says about his Jewish grandfather, whom he never met: “a white Dutch Jew who drifted over to the islands after chasing gold and diamonds, with no luck at all”. From 1932 to 1940, he lived with his grandmother in her native country of Jamaica. When he returned to New York City, he attended George Washington High School[ after which he joined the Navy and served during World War II. In the 1940s, he was working as a janitor’s assistant in NYC when a tenant gave him, as a gratuity, two tickets to see the American Negro Theater. He fell in love with the art form and also met Sidney Poitier. The financially struggling pair regularly purchased a single seat to local plays, trading places in between acts, after informing the other about the progression of the play. At the end of the 1940s, he took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator alongside Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, Bea Arthur and Sidney Poitier, while performing with the American Negro Theatre. He subsequently received a Tony Award for his participation in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.

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Harry Belafonte, 1960

Belafonte started his career in music as a club singer in New York to pay for his acting classes. The first time he appeared in front of an audience, he was backed by the Charlie Parker band, which included Charlie Parker himself, Max Roach and Miles Davis, among others. At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career on the Roost label in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress’ American folk songs archives. With guitarist and friend Millard Thomas, Belafonte soon made his debut at the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard. In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor.  (by wikipedia)

Harry Belafonte’s first album features a solid variety of songs from American folk tradition, learned during his studies of folk music at the Library of Congress in the early 1950s. He had signed with RCA Victor in 1952, recording a series of well-received singles. Belafonte’s new-found love for music of the West Indies can be found in songs such as “Man Piaba” (which he wrote) along with songs from English and Scottish tradition such as “Lord Randall” and “The Drummer & the Cook.” Songs from African-American tradition include the chain gang song “Tol’ My Captain” and the ubiquitous “John Henry.” Mark Twain was a good initial effort, but Belafonte’s repertoire and delivery would get stronger with the next album. (by Cary Ginell)

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Dorothy Dandridge & Harry Belafonte in Carmen Jones (1954).

Personnel:
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Millard Thomas (guitar)

Orchestra and chorus supervised by Hugo Winterhalter

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Tracklist:
01. Mark Twain (Traditional/Belafonte) 3.42
02. Man Piaba (Belafonte/Rollins) 3.30
03. John Henry (Traditional) 3.27
04. Tol’ My Captain (Campbell) 2.45
06. Kalenda Rock (Mourning Song) (Traditional) 3.22
08. The Drummer And The Cook (Traditional/Campbell) 2.04
09. The Fox (Traditional/Campbell) 2.43
10. Soldier, Soldier (Traditional/Campbell) 1.37
11, The Next Big River (Traditional/Campbell) 0.20
12. Delia (Brooks/Judson) 2.58
“Mo Mary” (Richard Dyer-Bennett) – 2:15
“Lord Randall” (Traditional, Campbell) – 4:07

Paul Campbell was a fictitious entity used to copyright material in the public domain.

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Harry Belafonte – To Wish You A Merry Christmas (1958)

FrontCover1To Wish You a Merry Christmas is an album by Harry Belafonte Recorded May 27, 31, June 1, 3 and 8 of 1958 in Hollywood. Conducted by Bob Corman. Millard Thomas and Laurindo Almeida, guitarists. Produced and directed by Ed Welker.

To Wish You a Merry Christmas was originally released in 1958 as RCA Victor catalog number LPM/LSP-1887. The original LP cover featured an illustration of the Three Wise Men and a listing of the songs in front.

The mournful “Star in the East” begins with Harry’s lone voice shrouded in echo. Later, he’s accompanied by subdued choral backing. The mood is sustained on “Gifts They Gave,” a performance with spare orchestral support. Yet another gentle rendering on “Son of Mary,” which is also known as “What Child is This?” and in secular form, “Greensleeves.” Millard’s guitar can be heard among orchestra instruments on the sprighgtly “12 Days.” Almeida’s mandolin is lead on “Jesus Sleeps.” A mixed chorus sings a bit of “Joys of Christmas” at the beginning of the medley. After Belafonte does “Bethlehem” they reprise “Joys” then lead on “Deck the Halls.” One more verse of “Joys” precedes Harry’s “Noël” solo. “Joys of Christmas” concludes Side One.

Belafonte“Mary’s Boy Child” was featured on many RCA compilations over the years. It was written in 1956 for Harry’s AN EVENING WITH BELAFONTE (LPM 1402) album by Jester Hairston. He also composed “Amen” and was a supporting actor on TV’s THE AMOS ‘N’ ANDY SHOW. Harry’s version was a #1 hit in Britain that same year. “Silent Night” is fairly orthodox stylistically and features twin guitars. The chorus fades in at the top of “Christmas is Coming.” They rondo as Harry sings lead on what is a variation of “A’soalin’,” as heard on the two record IN CONCERT Peter, Paul & Mary album. For those who prefer straight folk music, “Mary, Mary” is the best example here. It’s just voice and two guitars and is most serene. “Jehovah” has the same structure as “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.” This set’s final medley is initially its most energetic track. No label or content mention is given to “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” When Belafonte sang the musical adaptation of Longfellow’s “Bells,” it was a brand new song. Since 1958, this one’s become a Yuletide standard. (by  Annie Van Auken)

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Personnel:
Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Frantz Casseus (guitar)
Millard Thomas (guitar)
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unknown orchestra conducted by Robert DeCormier

BackCoverTracklist:
01. A Star In The East (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.17
02. The Gifts They Gave (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.00
03. The Son Of Mary (Greensleeves) (Traditional) 3:24
04. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Traditional) 3.49
05. Where the Little Jesus Sleeps (Traditional)  2.07
06. Medley: 5.54
06.1. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (Brooks/Redner)
06.2.Deck The Halls (Traditional)
06.3.The First Noel (Traditional)
07. Mary’s Boy Child (Hairston) 4.24
08. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 3.37
09. Christmas Is Coming (Traditional)
10. Mary, Mary (DeCormier) 3:24
11. Jehovah the Lord Will Provide (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 2.59
12. Medley: 4.32
12.1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Traditional)
12.2, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Corman/Okun)
13. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (Cash/Longfellow/Marks) 3.05

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Harry Belafonte – Calypso (1956)

FrontCover1This is the album that made Harry Belafonte’s career. Up to this point, calypso had only been a part of Belafonte’s focus in his recordings of folk music styles. But with this landmark album, calypso not only became tattooed to Belafonte permanently; it had a revolutionary effect on folk music in the 1950s and ’60s. The album consists of songs from Trinidad, mostly written by West Indian songwriter Irving Burgie (aka Lord Burgess). Burgie’s two most successful songs are included — “Day O” and “Jamaica Farewell” (which were both hit singles for Belafonte) — as are the evocative ballads “I Do Adore Her” and “Come Back Liza” and what could be the first feminist folk song, “Man Smart (Woman Smarter).” Calypso became the first million-selling album by a single artist, spending an incredible 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts, remaining on the charts for 99 weeks. It triggered a veritable tidal wave of imitators, parodists, and artists wishing to capitalize on its success. Years later, it remains a record of inestimable influence, inspiring many folksingers and groups to perform, most notably the Kingston Trio, which was named for the Jamaican capital. For a decade, just about every folksinger and folk group featured in their repertoire at least one song that was of West Indian origin or one that had a calypso beat. They all can be attributed to this one remarkable album. Despite the success of Calypso, Belafonte refused to be typecast. Resisting the impulse to record an immediate follow-up album, Belafonte instead spaced his calypso albums apart, releasing them at five-year intervals in 1961, 1966, and 1971. (by Cary Ginell)

HarryBelafonte1956Personnel:
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Frantz Casseus (guitar)
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Millard J. Thomas – guitar on 01., 04., 06. + 07.)
The Norman Luboff Choir (on 08. – 10.)
Tony Scott and His Orchestra (on 02., 03., 05., 08. – 11.)
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Tracklist:
01. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (Traditional) 3.02
02. I Do Adore Her (Burgess) 2.48
03. Jamaica Farewell (Burgess) 3.02
04. Will His Love Be Like His Rum? (Attaway/Belafonte) 2.33
05. Dolly Dawn (Burgess) 3.13
06. Star O (Attaway/Belafonte) 2.02
07. The Jack-Ass Song (Burgess/Attaway) 2.52
08. Hosanna (Burgess/Attaway) 2.34
09. Come Back Liza (Burgess/Attaway) 3.03
10. Brown Skin Girl (Span) 2.43
11. Man Smart (Woman Smarter) (Span) 3.31

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Harry Belafonte – Belafonte Sings Of The Carribean (1957)

FrontCover1Belafonte’s second album of songs from the West Indies expanded the scope in both style as well as geography from the Calypso album. As in that album, his chief collaborator was the prolific Irving Burgie. For the first time, we hear Belafonte sing one of the famous wry calypso tunes based on historical happenings. “Love, Love Alone” dealt with the abdication of King Edward VII to marry the American widow, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. Also on the album are the ballads “Haiti Cherie” and “Island in the Sun,” the latter the theme song from the motion picture starring Belafonte and Joan Fontaine. The songs are catchy and melodic, and the accompaniment has been stepped up to feature an orchestra, conducted by longtime Belafonte orchestra leader Robert DeCormier (aka Bob Corman) (by Cary Ginell)

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Personnel:
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Frantz Casseus (guitar)
Victor Messer (guitar)
Millard Thomas (guitar)
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Bob Corman’s Orchestra & Chorus

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Tracklist:
01. Scratch, Scratch (Belafonte/Burgess) 2.42
02. Lucy’s Door (Burgess) 3.40
03. Cordelia Brown (Burgess) 2.52
04. Don’t Ever Love Me (Burgess)     2:45
05. Love, Love Alone (Hardy) 3.16
06. Coconut Woman (Belafonte/Burgess) 3.17
07.  Haiti Cherie (Belafonte/Burgess) 3.17
08.  Judy Drownded (Burgess) 3.27
09. Island In The Sun (Belafonte/Burgess) 3.21
10.  Angelique-O (Attaway) 2.40
11. Lead Man Holler (Belafonte/Burgess) 4.16

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