November 18, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 26: Harry Belefonte ~ At the Greek Theater

reel-to-reel tape album
cover photo by Jay Maisel
photo of album cover by Styrous®

In addition to my vinyl collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I'm selling. This is an entry about one of them, Harry Belefonte ~ At the Greek Theater. I have the vinyl LP version as well. Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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This is the recording of the Harry Belefonte concert at the Hearst Greek Theater in Berkeley, California, USA, on August 23, 1963.  The Greek is the very best place in the San Francisco Bay Area for concert venues. The sound is impeccable, no matter where you sit. The feeling is intimate, although, it seats (uncomfortably, sitting is not exactly the beat feature of the site, you MUST bring a pillow to put on the cement step on which you sit) thousands. I have enjoyed many concerts of various types from rock (see: Paul Simon at the Greek) to opera; each time I have never regretted the experience.

Harry Belefonte  began as a club singer in New York to pay for his acting classes. He made his debut at the jazz club The Village Vanguard in the heart of Greenwich Village, and was backed by the Charlie Parker band, which included Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis. Now, that's what I call an impressive beginning!

His first widely-released single, which went on to become his "signature" song, Matilda, recorded on April 27, 1953, usually involved audience participation in his live performances with the lyrics, "Hey! Ma-til-da; Ma-til-da; Ma-til-da, she take me money and run a-Venezuela!" The song was first recorded by calypso pioneer King Radio (the stage name of Norman Span).

There is a 1979 video of a beautiful duet with Nana Mouskouri (she singing in French, he in English) of Try To Remember on YouTube (link below).

Belafonte was dubbed the "King of Calypso" (although, the title has also been given to Slinger Francisco aka Mighty Sparrow) for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. The The Banana Boat Song, recorded in 1956, is famous for its refrain of, "Day-O".

Near the bottom of this post there are links to Belafonte songs on YouTube that you can hear for yourself, if you'd like.

reel-to-reel tape album back
photo by Styrous®

reel-to-reel tape album back details
detail photos by Styrous®

reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

reel-to-reel tape label details
detail photo by Styrous®

Track listing

  1. "Look Over Yonder-Be My Woman Gal #1" – 4:42
  2. "Glory Manger" – 4:11
  3. "Shake That Little Foot" – 4:02
  4. "Windin' Road" (William Eaton) – 4:36
  5. "Hoedown Blues" – 2:40
  6. "Try To Remember" (Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt) – 3:46
  7. "Why'n Why" (Woody Guthrie) – 3:19
  8. "Contemporary Dance" – 2:24
  9. "In My Father's House" – 3:12
  10. "Hayoshevet Baganim" (Nissan Cohen Hav-ron) – 2:30
  11. "Cruel War" – 3:23
  12. "Pig" – 1:43
  13. "Sailor Man" (Fred Hellerman, Fran Minkoff) – 3:03
  14. "Merry Minuet" (Sheldon Harnick) – 3:28
  15. "Boot Dance" – 3:23
  16. "Zombie Jamboree" (Traditional) – 16:45


Production notes:
  • Orchestra and chorus conducted by Howard Roberts
  • Orchestral arrangements by Hugo Montenegro
  • Bob Bollard – producer, liner notes
  • Bob Simpson – engineer
  • Ed Begley – tape mastering
  • Jay Maisel – cover photo
  • Garret-Howard – photography
  • Wilson Miller – photography

 Music Links:

Matilda, (1997 New York State University concert) on YouTube
In My Father's House (1963 Greek concert) on YouTube
Try To Remember (with Nana Mouskouri) on YouTube

reel-to-reel listings on eBay

more reel-to-reel tapes on the Styrous® Viewfinder:
                                             reel-to-reel tape archive

 "Art. There's nothing more powerful in the universe than it, because it is the recorder of the truth."
                        – Harry Belafonte 

~ Monday, November 18, 2013

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