Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2008 digitally remastered reissue of this album from the man who would soon become Mohammad Ali. I Am The Greatest! Yep, it's no empty boast...as the sportsman of the last century does his thang in a hilarious and amazing collection of standup, poetry and rapping, just prior to entering the history books by becoming the greatest ever heavyweight champ of all time! Well on his way to becoming the idol of boxing fans and kids worldwide, and a role model to millions, the brash young Ali is as hilarious, insightful, and wise as ever; a moment of history captured forever! As a bonus, this CD includes the stunning take on Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me', an idea conceived by the great Sam Cooke, where Ali shows he could have been a contender in the charts too! In the specially prepared stereo remix done exclusively for the RevOla release, it sounds stunning.
Record Collector (magazine) (p.84) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is the historic sound of Cassius Clay more than living up to his reputation as he delivers a white hot selection of routines from his collected wit and wisdom."
Personnel includes: Cassius Clay (vocals); Sam Cooke (arranger).
Recording information: New York, NY (08/1963-03/1964).
While the balance of sheer force and nimble grace that defined Muhammad Ali's style is unquestionable, it was just as much his pre-fight braggadocio and penchant for the poetic that made him the pre-eminent name in boxing history. I AM THE GREATEST, released in 1963 after a run of Olympic glory, as the loquacious warrior then still named Cassius Clay prepared for the heavyweight bout with Sonny Liston that would make his name a legend, captures many sides of the man whose words helped lift his American mythology to Paul Bunyan/Babe Ruth levels. Opening with a fanfare, and a dignified emcee's introduction before giving way to Clay's swagger, the record serves as both fascinating character study and eclectic timepiece.