Personnel includes: Harry Belafonte (vocals); Roger Corman (conductor); Danny Barrajanos (vocals, bongos, conga); Millard Thomas, Aphael Boguslav (guitar); Norm Keenan (bass).
Recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York on April 19-20, 1959. Includes liner notes by Bob Bollard.
Caveat emptor, as the gold disc reissue of Harry Belafonte's classic 1959 live set includes a truncated version of the title. While the entire proceedings are available on the double-CD Live in Concert at the Carnegie Hall in Europe, North American consumers have been stuck with an edited release. The shows from this collection were held in June of 1959 as benefit performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Belafonte draws deeply from his back catalog, offering a wide scope of styles and interpretations as the artist pushes the creative boundaries into a variety of native folk music. His stories and fables are melodically woven with accompaniment supplied by diverse ensembles. They range from the sole acoustic guitarist and hand percussion heard on "Darlin' Cora" to the 47-piece orchestra incorporated into the epic singalong "Mathilda." Belafonte's presentation is divided into several disparate themes and motifs. "Moods of the American Negro" contains the soul-stirring tales of "John Henry" and the emotive "Sylvie," while "In the Caribbean" conjures up favorites, including his trademark calypso anthems "Day-O," "Jamaica Farewell," and the cerebrally solemn "All My Trials." He concludes with "'Round the World," a catchall that boasts selections extending from the traditional Jewish "Hava Nageela" to the sublime "Danny Boy" and equally captivating "Shenandoah." The program ends with a nearly quarter-hour "Mathilda," allowing the audience to participate in a call-and-response of the chorus in which Belafonte summons a reaction from specific demographics and patrons within the venue -- such as "women over 40" and "people in the tiers." Until either the complete 1959 double LP or (better yet) an "expanded edition" is delivered, listeners must be satisfied with the reissue of At Carnegie Hall, which nonetheless remains a testament to Harry Belafonte as a formidable and thoroughly entertaining presence at the zenith of his abilities. ~ Lindsay Planer