Audio Remasterer: Kevin Gray .
Liner Note Author: Nat Hentoff.
Recording information: Hollywood, CA (01/29/1958/03/29/1958); NY (01/29/1958/03/29/1958); Hollywood, CA (06/05/1958-06/07/1958); NY (06/05/1958-06/07/1958).
After flirting with traditional African-American material in his previous albums, Belafonte, for the first time, devotes an entire album to the blues. However, of the eleven songs, only two could be classified as traditional blues: "In the Evenin' Mama" and "Cotton Fields," the latter given a five minute treatment. Belafonte would take this song on the road as part of his live act for the next decade. Of the other songs, three were covers of Ray Charles standards ("A Fool For You," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Mary Ann"). Another highlight is Belafonte's rendition of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child." With few exceptions, the entire album is understated and not as exciting or riveting as other Belafonte records. Still, it's solid listening, and taken track by track, thoughtful performances. Footnote: this was the first Belafonte album recorded in stereo. Some releases feature a thick, dark blue spine. ~ Cary Ginell