Updated:- June 22, 2007

Dec 7, 2003
More on Italian Record Sleeves

Dear Albert,
I also have to explain something about Italian singles' sleeves, as you found it strange that we had the "calypso" cover for the single "Did You Hear About Jerry?".
In the 50's Rca Italiana started issuing singles in picture sleeves but, with a few exceptions, didn't make an individual one for each record. Instead they simply made a "standard" for all current singles in catalog, where just the titles of the two sides were changed from time to time. Belafonte had 6 different "standard" covers which were used from 1956 to 1959. You can find them all in the enclosed photo. The first two were made in 1956, the next three in 1957 and the 6th in 1958. The rarest is the 2nd ("pink") and the photo is not an actual sleeve but a reproduction I made from memory.
Now it's impossible to have an exact picture of how many standard sleeves were used for which singles, but I can give you a few examples:
"Banana Boat" has been available with covers 1,2,3,4,5
"Did You Hear About Jerry?" with covers 3 and 6
"Mama Look At Boo-Boo" with covers 3 and 6
"Gotta Travel On" with cover 6
"Ain't That Love" with covers 3 and 6
"Darlin' Cora" with cover 6
"Cocoanut Woman" had its individual cover as you already know, but I remember seeing it also with covers 2 and 3.
"Fifteen", as far as I remember, was available only in its individual sleeve.
From 1960 on each single was released with an individual sleeve although very few were issued in Italy.
Well, I think you have found this subject of interest.
Until next time, my best regards, Carlo

Dec 16, 2003
Web Makeover

Hello,
I visited your site ''belafontetracks.ca'' and found it both interesting and informative. The range of service provided is quite impressive. Let me take this opportunity to offer you our expertise as experienced web designers. We are prepared to give " Belafonte Tracks " a complete professional makeover at absolutely no cost to you.
Looking forward to your response,
Regards from Web Innovators

Dear Innovators,
Thanks very much for your kind words and interest in "Belafonte Tracks." Let me be up front with you in order not to waste your time. I very much appreciate your generous offer of assistance but it is not in my intentions to alter the character of the site in any way. That's not to suggest that there is no room for improvement and, in fact, a master plan does exist for future additions and refinements. But being a fan-site, maybe it's best that it retain its informal appearance. All this aside, "Tracks" remains a work in progress and, in my opinion, when it ceases to be so it will have outlived its usefulness.
When first conceived there were no ready models and few precedents for such a venture. The architecture and presentation you now see evolved over a three year period prior to the actual launch. During this time the project itself was taking shape. As you know full well, content alone does not make for an interesting website. I was convinced there was a tale to tell but the question from the get-go was how to make that story interesting to others. I took a hard look at what had worked for me in the past and concluded that success would lie in the combined clout of pictures and words. So I assembled a library of scans (without any regard as to where, or even whether, they would later be used) while drawing from a collection of memorabilia dating back to the early 1950s. Simultaneously I set out to compose text files for the various pages within the eventual site. Phrasing was worked and reworked to maximize the impact of these supporting texts. Much emphasis was placed on the need to keep explanatory notes and anecdotes brief and to the point.
Prior to the launch in June 2001, when I was operating pretty much alone, I regularly consulted with Jan in Denmark to bounce around ideas. Since then we have joined forces with Carlo in Italy to take the site in new directions. This included partnering with another close friend, Judy* at "Site of Sites," for the implementation of "Stage & Screen." At this writing we are assisted by a network of eager correspondents who are prepared to contribute openly to the project. You might say that we are a pretty happy extended family.
One of the primary goals at the outset was to correct the historical record relative to the release of Belafonte's original tracks. Now, because of "Belafonte Tracks," that information resides comfortably in the realm of public domain. But the site has since taken on an importance that goes beyond this apparent preoccupation with a microscopic examination of the events of the past five decades.
"Belafonte Tracks" is strictly a private initiative and as such it is not funded or subsidized in any way by commercial interests. From one perspective it is my way of thanking Mr. Belafonte for the joy his music has brought into my life over the past 50 years. I set out initially to share my knowledge and collection with a handful of huge Belafonte fans scattered around the globe. Never did I anticipate the level of interest that this project has since generated.
Again I would like to thank you for your kind offer of assistance and wish you continued success in the expanding field of website configuration and design.
Kind regards, Albnut
Note*- Judy has been operating her own Belafonte site since 1999 - see "Links."

Jan 18, 2004
Song For A Winter’s Night

Hello there,
I would like to know if Harry Belafonte ever recorded a song by Gordon Lightfoot called "Song For A Winter's Night". I seem to remember a version done by him but cannot find it anywhere.
Thanks for your help, Lise

Dear Lise,
You have hit on a point that had some of us confused until only recently. It all stems from the fact that this song changed names somewhere along the way. Apparently it was originally called "The Hands I Love" and was recorded by Belafonte under that title in 1967. The following year it was performed by him on the " Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, " again as "The Hands I Love." The song can be found on the LP album, Belafonte On Campus, RCA-LSP-3779. Over the years Harry regularly included Lightfoot compositions in his act. He has recorded and released 4 others - Oh Linda, Softly, The Last Time I Saw Her, and You'll Still Be Needing Me.
Kind regards, Albnut

Jan 22, 2004
The Rose

For years I have been looking for "The Rose" by Harry Belafonte. I see it has been recorded and you list it as A39. What does that mean and can you help me find it?
Thanks, Rose (yes, that's my name)

Dear Rose,
Nice to hear from yet another Belafonte admirer.
You are correct, " The Rose " was released in 1981 on the Columbia album FC-37489, " Loving You Is Where I Belong. " I’m afraid you will only find this set on vinyl (not CD) and then only in old record shops or at on-line sites like eBay. As for the " Belafonte Tracks " numbering scheme, " A39 " is simply the 39th original album released by Belafonte.
Good luck and please let me know how you make out.
Kind regards, Albnut

Feb 5, 2004
Matrix Numbers

Dear Readers,
Here is an overview on matrix numbers that was prepared several years ago. I hesitated to publish it thinking that it would probably be of little interest to most readers. It could though be helpful to those wanting to have a clearer understanding of the "Singles Launch" of 1957. Well here it is anyway.
Enjoy, Albnut

On The Matrix Trail
In the 1950s it was standard procedure at RCA to assign unique serial (matrix) numbers to studio takes selected for release. When applied to single-play recordings these became, in effect, side numbers thereby making it easy to trace songs found on early single reissues. In contrast, the matrix numbers for individual album tracks were not generally published at time of issue. This, by the way, has sometimes hampered attempts to establish the origins of songs appearing on LP and CD compilations. The following tabulation focuses on 9 early singles titles which, in the years following initial release, were reissued on single-play recordings under new catalogue numbers.

Year

Title & Matrix No.

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

1957

1958

1952

Chiminey Smoke

47-

47-

E2VW-5957

4676

6783

1952

A-Roving

47-

47-

E2VW-5958

4676

6784

1952

Scarlet Ribbons

47-

447-

E2VW-6872

5051

0321

1952

Shenandoah

47-

447-

E2VW-6873

5051

0321

1953

Matilda, Matilda

47-

447-

E3VW-1095

5311

0320

1953

Suzanne

47-

447-

E3VW-0548

5311

0320

1954

Hold 'Em Joe

47-

447-

E4VW-2807

5617

0322

1954

I'm Just A Country Boy

47-

447-

E4VW-2806

5617

0322

1956

Mary's Boy Child

47-

47-

G2PW-4902

6735

1008

Summary:
1) Chiminey Smoke
First released in 1952 backed with A-Roving.
It was later reissued in 1957 as the flip-side to Man Smart (LP version, 1955).
2) A-Roving
Originally released in 1952 as the flip-side to Chiminey Smoke.
It reappeared in 1957 as the flip-side to Unchained Melody (LP track, 1955).
3) Scarlet Ribbons and Shenandoah
First released back-to-back in 1952.
This single reappeared in 1957 under a new catalogue number.
4) Matilda, Matilda and Suzanne
First released back-to-back in 1953.
This single reappeared in 1957 under a new catalogue number.
5) Hold 'Em Joe and I'm Just A Country Boy
First released back-to-back in 1954.
This single reappeared in 1957 under a new catalogue number.
6) Mary's Boy Child (short version)
Originally released in North America in 1956 backed with Venezuela.
Two years later it was issued in Europe with Little Bernadette as flip-side.

Feb 6, 2004
Long Road To Freedom Anthology - Correction
(www.belafontetracks.ca/albums

I was one of the singers at Webster Hall in the summer of 1961 with Harry Belafonte and Leonard DePaur. I see on Disc 1, The Roots, you have listed my countrymen and I, under "Guinea Choir" (see "Features vocal contributions from"). We are actually from Kenya not Guinea. Please have it corrected if you can.
Yours faithfully, 
Vincent Mbirika (Dr.)

Dear Dr. Mbirika,
It is indeed an honour to be in touch with an artist who was part of such an awesome endeavour. It is hard to comprehend how such an important body of work could gather dust in the RCA vaults for 30 years before being rediscovered and released. In the past I would have been more than a little disappointed to purchase a Belafonte recording and find him featured on a mere 10 out of 80 tracks. But not so here! Considering the project theme and the talent that was assembled to realize it, it's only fitting that he take his place alongside the other headliners. What a breath of fresh air to listen in on some straight up music from 40 years back! 
My description of the contents of the set was taken directly from the CDs themselves as well as the companion book. I will check to make sure that I did not make an error in transcription. Once I have done this I will again contact you to make you aware of my findings.
Kind regards, Albnut

Feb 8, 2004
Little Bernadette

Dear Albert & Carlo,
I just listened to a Harry Belafonte compilation CD titled "Island In The Sun - His Greatest Hits" and released in the "Simply The Best" series on the Woodford Music label WMCD 5643. When putting the tracks in my database I discovered that "Little Bernadette" clocked in at 4:16 while the version I know is only 3:06 long. I checked several times and the timing is correct. Just listening to the orchestral intro it seems to me that this is a different version. As far as I know there is no mention of this fact on " Belafonte Tracks " or elsewhere on the web. Have I possibly overlooked something?
Kind regards, Hans

Dear Hans,
What a great discovery you have made! No, I do not have that CD. What do you think? The single we all know is just an edited version or it has a different vocal and orchestration?
Bravo! My best regards, Carlo

Dear Carlo & Albert,
Thank you for your quick reaction. I have now listened numerous times to both versions, and I am pretty sure that the longer one is a completely different take, although the orchestration is very similar. I have also considered the possibility, that running a tape at a slower speed and with a slightly different mix, could also be a possibility. I think the key point is Belafonte's phrasing when he sings "There she saw a wondrous sight ...", which is really different.
Here are the main points:
- Orchestration is very similar, but not completely identical
- Key is different (lower)
- The "sweet and gentle" chorus is also sung after the second verse, whereas in the shorter version the third verse follows the second one without the chorus in between.
- the long version is slightly slower
It was nice to see both of you so excited.
Kind regards, Hans

Dear Hans and Carlo,
The more you tell us about this discovery of yours the more enthusiastic I become. Indeed this is no small find! 
I read a short news flash (sometime in 1958?) announcing the imminent release of a new Belafonte number called "Little Bernadette." Apparently the recording session had already taken place. Then I waited patiently, while making regular visits to my local record shop, but the months went by and, strangely, it did not appear. Finally in the late 1980s I came across the LP "Rare Belafonte" a compilation put out by RCA Germany at the time. Much to my surprise there it was, the song that I had been after for almost 30 years. I was not in touch with any other serious Belafonte collectors and so was not aware that "Little Bernadette" had previously been released in Europe as a single way back in 1958.
All this to say that this title was never (I repeat, never) released in North America in any form. Therefore I would not be one bit surprised if the project was put on hold at the point where several takes were still under consideration for mastering. As we all know the 3 minute rule was rigidly adhered to back then for singles intended for airplay. An artist could get away with concert-length "anthems" on a long play album but this was frowned upon for single play recordings. So it is not surprising that when Europe "came knocking," and got access to the vault, a short version was chosen as the flip-side to "Mary's Boychild" for the original  European issue in 1958.
Thought you might be interested in this slant on things.
Best personal regards, Albnut

Dear Albert,
This is indeed very interesting. I did not know that "Little Bernadette" was never released in North America, but - besides the "Rare Belafonte" LP - I only have this track on the K-tel compilation "Island In The Sun" (TG 1349) made in Germany and on another K-tel compilation "King Of Calypso" released in Finland. But these are all the short version we already know.
I have heard of master tapes used for compilation releases, by third parties licensing these tracks, where the technician in charge just picked the "wrong" take by accident (other takes on the same tape, or the wrong tape was chosen, or the labeling was wrong). Something like that could possibly be the reason for this. According to the small print on the CD inlay, all tracks were officially licensed from BMG Ariola Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxemburg) to Disky Communications in the Netherlands, who seems to own the "Woodford Music" label.
Kind regards, 
Hans

Feb 19, 2004
Odds Against Tomorrow

Dear Readers,
Years ago I transcribed the words to this blues number from the movie, "Odds Against Tomorrow" but never managed to put a title to it. Can anybody help?
Kind regards, Albnut

At night I tell you people
When that cold, cold sun goes down,
At night I tell you people
When that cold, cold sun goes down,
I'd cry, I'd sigh. I'd wanna die
Cause my baby's not around.
What's the matter pretty baby?
Tell me what's your daddy done?
Won't you tell me pretty mama
What's your daddy done?
You've got to come and hold me
For the mornin' sun.
Believe me pretty mama
It's not just me I know.
I just can't make that Jungle
Outside of my front door.

Feb 23, 2004
Little Bernadette

Dear Hans,
I have listened carefully to the "long version" of "Bernadette" and I would say it's not a simple "longer" version, but really an alternate take. The main difference that comes to my ear is that the two versions are sung in different keys: the long is a lower key, the short is a higher key. There is also different phrasing by Belafonte, particularly clear in two passages. To be more blunt I enclose the lyric of the song where I have written in bold letters the main differences I have checked.
Thank you very much for sharing with us such a great discovery.
Until next time, my best regards, Carlo

LITTLE BERNADETTE

LITTLE BERNADETTE

(by Peter Hart-Christopher Richardson)

(by Peter Hart-Christopher Richardson)

SHORT VERSION: Higher Key

LONG VERSION: Lower Key

short introduction

longer introduction

On a hillside far away

On a hillside far away

A little girl sat down to pray

A little girl sat down to pray

Now her name we can’t forget

Now her name we can’t forget

It’s little Bernadette

It’s little Bernadette

Sweet and gentle child was she

Sweet and gentle child was she

Destined for eternity

Destined for eternity

Bringing hope to you and me

Bringing hope to you and me

Little Bernadette

Little Bernadette

There she saw a wondrous sight

There she saw a wondrous sight

A lovely lady dressed in white

A lovely lady dressed in white

All aglow with heavenly light All aglow with heavenly light (different phrasing)

So beautiful to see

So beautiful to see

Sweet and gentle child was she

(second refrain omitted)

Destined for eternity

Bringing hope to you and me

Little Bernadette

(no instrumental break)

(short instrumental break)

Then she heard the lady say

Then she heard the lady say

Please ask the world to kneel and pray

Please ask the world to kneel and pray

Find the spring so fresh and clear Find the spring so fresh and clear (different phrasing)

And build a chapel there

And build a chapel there

Sweet and gentle child was she

Sweet and gentle child was she

Destined for eternity

Destined for eternity

Bringing hope to you and me

Bringing hope to you and me

Little Bernadette

Little Bernadette

Where the sparkling waters flow

Where the sparkling waters flow

The people bring their cares and woe

The people bring their cares and woe

And give thanks for all they owe

And give thanks for all they owe

To Little Bernadette

To Little Bernadette

Sweet and gentle child was she

Sweet and gentle child was she

Destined for eternity

Destined for eternity

Bringing hope to you and me

Bringing hope to you and me

Little Bernadette

Little Bernadette

(short instrumental ending)

(longer instrumental ending)

Dear Carlo,
Thank you very much for this in-depth investigation which confirms the impression I had. They are very similar, and when listening only once the short version could easily be seen as an edit, but it isn't. Even the different keys could originate from running tapes at a different speeds. But the phrasing is the key issue and I agree with you, that this is the real indication for a different version.
Kind regards, Hans

Dear Hans and Carlo,
I just listened to the 2 versions of "Little Bernadette" and cannot add anything to your own observations and conclusions. I enjoyed both recordings and do not have a clear preference for one or the other. Again, I must say that this is a discovery of some major significance considering the peculiar history associated with these tracks. Congratulations are in order!
My best regards, Albnut

March 2, 2004
Mento Music

Dear Michael,
Had a quick look at your "Mento Music" site the other day and I must say I came away mighty impressed! I had noticed it appear under "Referrers" in the "Belafonte Tracks" stats reports and the name caught my eye. Browsing through your site left me with the warm feeling that the rich Caribbean musical tradition is alive, well and being carried forward. Anyway I will definitely be back to visit but just wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on a superb job.
Kind regards, Albnut

Albnut,
Its great to hear from you, especially with so much praise, as I enjoyed "Belafonte Tracks" very much! I tried to post the attached emails, but it didn’t work. Thanks for the email and keep up the good work with your site.
Take care, Mike
PS- 
Here is the message I attempted to post on Feb 22, 2004 :
Harry Belafonte fans may find my site www.mentomusic.com of some interest. It's the web’s only site on mento music. For those who haven’t heard this term, it is the Jamaican equivalent of calypso. There's a page discussing which of Belafonte’s calypso songs are actually mento songs at www.mentomusic.com/HarryBelafonte.htm. There’s also a page on Jamaican folk music that discusses how Edric Connor was a big influence on Belafonte’s repertoire at www.mentomusic.com/edricConner.htm. Another page on mento performer Lord Flea discusses how Belafonte covered at least one Flea song and how Flea rode on Belafonte’s coattails into short-lived international stardom.

March 17, 2004
Mail from Belafonte

Hi Albnut,
The first time I attended a Belafonte performance (1979) I was 14 years old. I remember my anger that I was not allowed to go two years earlier because I was too young and it was too expensive. And do you know that our eldest son Daan insisted on going with us last year (2003) when only 8? He has loved Belafonte very, very much from his early childhood on.
We said to him that it would be nice to make a drawing for Belafonte. During that period he was crazy about word-puzzles. You draw many squares, put letters in the them and ask another person to find words. So Daan decided to create a word-puzzle with song titles such as "Island in the Sun," "Paradise in Gazankulu," etc. Towards the end of the concert I took Daan with me and put him on the stage. Harry saw him, walked slowly to him with that wonderful smiling face of his, caressed Daan over the head and they shook hands. I could see that Harry found it lovely. My wife had put a small letter and short explanation with the puzzle.
Three months later we found a large envelope from the US in our mailbox addressed to Daan. We wondered what that could be, because we had ordered nothing on the Internet. Your guess is right, it contained a personally signed photo of Harry with the inscription, "Dear Daan, thanks for the wonderful puzzle. Peace, Harry Belafonte." I was rather touched by this. I never could believe that a busy man like Belafonte, who has so many contacts all over the world, and receives many presents and flowers during concerts, would send a little boy in the Netherlands a "thank you" message.
Bye, Gert-Jan

Dear Gert-Jan
What a touching story you have to tell about your son Daan and Belafonte !
Kind regards, Albnut

March 31, 2004
Swing Dat Hammer

Dear Carlo,
The point I really wanted to make is that "Swing Dat Hammer" is arguably the most powerful performance that Belafonte has ever delivered on record. Then why was this album not a smashing success when released in 1959, one might ask?
Best regards, Albnut

Dear Albert,
I completely agree with you about "Swing Dat Hammer." It's undoubtedly one of the best works Belafonte has ever done. As you probably remember, it was the last album of a trilogy conceived by Harry about the roots of black American music, the other two being "Sings The Blues" and "My Lord What A Morning". "Hammer" is my favorite but it doesn't surprise me that it wasn't as successful as other Belafonte albums. I don't think this was due to its political content, but more simply to its lack of commercial appeal.
Courage is one of Belafonte’s many qualities, not only as a man but also as an artist. He has always made the music he likes, regardless of its commercial appeal. That's why his albums are so great and timeless, though few in number considering the time he's been in show business. He made one album in the same time his colleagues turned out three or four, but while the others sound dated today, Belafonte’s are still as fresh and modern as when they were made decades ago.
This attitude however caused him quite some problems with major record companies and it's probably the main reason why he closed with RCA. What's even more admirable about it is when Harry made this choice. It wouldn't be surprising if he did so today when he's a well established international star and no longer needs to be in the Hit Parade charts. No, he did so at the peak of his commercial success. When any other artist would have taken advantage of a good thing by making one calypso after another, he decided to come out with a trilogy of albums that had nothing to appeal to the pop market of the day. They were just an expression of sheer artistry at its best.
"Swing Dat Hammer" is pure and rough - just a guitar, a bass or a drum here and there - with mostly just a powerful choir of voices, exactly as it must have been a hundred years ago among slaves and chain-gangs. Who would have dared, if not Belafonte, to put on record a track like "Talkin' An' Signifyin' ?" - 6 minutes of dialogue with no music, but what a dramatic climax!
Well, I have always shared these feelings with Tiziano, so I am more than glad to see that you are on the same wavelength too.
My best regards,
Ciao, Carlo

April 19, 2004
A Different Sounding “Matilda”

Recently I picked up a 33 rpm album from a thrift store which had a Matilda track on it that I hadn't heard before. It is an RCA compilation album titled "60 Years of Music America Loves Best." It has songs all the way from Caruso and John Philip Sousa to Eddie Fisher and Harry Belafonte. It is Volume II of the above title produced by RCA in 1960. I suspect it is probably Belafonte's 1953 single rendition of Matilda which I don't have a copy of and if I ever heard it before (like on the radio) I don't remember it.  I have the 1995 "Belafonte" album containing "Matilda" and it seems like an earlier more elementary version than the one on the "Belafonte" album.  Sorry I can't give you very much info.
Enjoy your site,
Track Tracer

Dear Tracker,
Nice hearing from you. I don't have that particular compilation LP so I can't say for sure that it
contains the original "Matilda, Malilda" recording from 1953. If it's roughly 2:27 minutes in duration then it is most probably the recording that was released on RCA-47-5311 in 1953. That arrangement is entirely different from the one that showed up 2 years later on the LP called "Belafonte." The latter clocks 3:34. Of course the Carnegie Hall interpretation from 1960 is
a live recording which very much sets it apart from the first 2 versions. So far no alternate takes of "Matilda, Matilda" have surfaced from the 1953 sessions but there's always the possibility that it could happen. It did with "Man Smart" a couple of years ago. Admittedly there are no great revelations in what I have just said. Without listening to the track in question no firm conclusions can be drawn.
Kind regards, Albnut

Hi Albert:
To fill you in with more detailed information on the Matilda track mentioned yesterday, I examined the album and track in more detail last night. It is probably the same as the single from 1953, as you state. But to fill you in:
Track time is listed as 2:30
Album number is LM-6088
It is a 2 record (4 side) album Harry is next to last on side 4 which is opposite and on the same disk as side one.
Disk number is LM-6088-1
Side number is L2RP-1352 which is opposite side L2RP-1349.
The Album "60 Years..." is Volume II of a series.
The arrangement is different than the 1955 one; he seems to sing it faster.
What I find distinctive about it, aside from the arrangement, is, when he says "Sing a little softer" and while the Chorus is replying "Matilda...", Harry remarks "(I'm??) feeling such pain". I don't know if the word "I'm" is actually there, or if I just imagine that it is.

On a different subject, what originally drew me to your site was that I had rented the CD version of 'At Carnegie Hall' from my local library and knew then that it was an abridged version of the original LP and I was looking for details of the differences. At your site you mention that 3 tracks are missing from the CD.  The CD that I heard had 4 tracks missing. The one that you have left off of missing tracks is the Haitian-French "Merci Bon Dieu."
Hope my extra detail helps.
Tracker  

Dear Tracker,
"I'm feeling such pain" is the clincher. That definitely ties it to 1953. Thanks for
the heads-up on the Carnegie CD. Don't understand how I could have missed
"Merci Bon Dieu."
Best regards, Albnut

April 27, 2004
Desperately Seeking UK Fans !

Dear Readers,
One of the biggest rewards since starting this venture has been the discovery of Belafonte admirers in all parts of the world. Information and reflections from these devoted fans are regularly shared with readers in the guest book. In fact, all additions to this site - following the original launch in 2001 - represent collaborations with such correspondents. In browsing your way through "Belafonte Tracks" you can be sure that you are encountering material contributed by Belafonte fans just like yourselves. Most of our collaborators are located in Europe and much of the information you find here is from these loyal fans. Strange as it may seem, however, we do not hear from anyone in the UK, even though Belafonte has toured there on numerous occasions over the years. We are anxious to learn more about his many concerts and television appearances (including TV specials) in the United Kingdom, these dating from as early as 1958.
So UK fans, will you please let us hear your voices !
Kind regards, Albnut

April 30, 2004
The Muppets

Cher Albert,
I just read Fan Forum 3 and the communications with your regular correspondents is fascinating. But even though I have most of Harry's LPs, CDs and videos, I cannot contribute to all the tech talk about matrix numbers and different lyrics to different versions of songs ... quite frankly he does that at every concert and always did. However, I can add a few comments about particularly interesting concerts over the past 49 years (yes, he gave a concert in Washington before his publicized first tour in 56), and will do that in other mails.
Today, I want to react to the story of little Daan from last year's amazing European tour. It is indeed very touching, because as you may remember, Harry was ill after that tour. Also he very rarely sends letters and especially photos coming from his office. But remember that he loves children and dedicates most of his life to UNICEF, and other organizations that work for the improvement of young people's lives. I hope Daan's parents read this and know that Harry was most certainly deeply touched by his drawing. His youngest grand-child is a almost Daan’s age, so it was probably particularly close to his heart.
Just one more remark before I go. One of the last times I saw Harry, at the American Film Institute screening of "The Muppets," I showed him the DVD that I had just received, telling him it was for my grand-children. He wrote: "There are many Muppets," then signed, "Harry Muppet."
Harry's "elder" fan,
Frederique

May 20, 2004
Looking for Belafonte

Hello,
I am writing from Turkey and have always been a fan of Belafonte. He must be one of the first musicians I listened to when I was nearly a baby. I am desperate to find the web-site of his foundation or Belafonte Enterprises or any kind of address would also do. I will be so lucky and grateful if you could help me with these.
Love,
ITIR, Turkey

Dear Friend,
I am afraid I will disappoint you with my reply but unfortunately the truth is I am simply an adoring fan of Belafonte (since 1954) just like you. I have written letters to him a number of times and they come back unopened. I finally did get to meet him 2 years ago at a concert in Toronto but I have no contact with him. Everything you see on the site comes from our personal collections. By "our" I mean myself and collaborators who play an ever-increasing role in the development of "Belafonte Tracks."
If you wish, you may share your reflections on Belafonte with readers by sending me a text which can then be added to the "Guest Book - Fan Forum."
Kind regards,
Albnut

June 7, 2004
Breaking News, Belafonte Fans Rejoice !

BMG UK is about to release "Many Moods," together with 
"Ballads, Blues & Boasters," on a " 2on1 " CD set. This represents 
the first digital re-mastering (from original production masters) 
in the longest while of Belafonte albums from the 1960s. These tracks
are of course drawn from the former RCA Victor catalogue. 

Hats off to BMG UK !
Albnut

July 10, 2004
Tracking The Grooves

Hi Gert-Jan,
You are absolutely right when you say it's the music that counts. Sometimes that fact gets lost in the pursuit of the historical data.
It's just that before Belafonte Tracks went on line in June of 2001, few seemed to know exactly where or when Belafonte's recordings were made. People were rushing out to buy CDs manufactured in far-off places thinking that Harry was still laying down new tracks on a regular basis. Almost all of these so-called "new releases" are in fact simply compilations of recordings dating back to the 50s, 60s and 70s. Also, as an avid Belafonte fan and collector, I want to be sure that I have every last track that has been issued and hopefully in its original form. Never-before-released recordings still show up from time to time and when that happens we revise the tally of original tracks on the site.
My best regards,
Albert

Hi Albert,
About the historical data, I love to read it. I've got several Jazz encyclopedias at home from which I regularly read some pages before I go to sleep and I also like to look into the booklets of the Bear Family Belafonte CD box. I saw Ray Charles is mentioned as a back-up singer on several early tracks, and wonder whether it's the famous Ray Charles (I love him so much). I also read the names of great jazz musicians, e.g. Tony Scott, Norman Keenan, Osie Johnson, Brew Moore, Milt Hinton playing on some tracks.
Last weekend I attended the North Sea Jazz Festival. I heard the trombone player Jonas Gwanga (arranger of An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba). When the announcer introduced him to the audience he mentioned that Gwanga had worked with Belafonte in the sixties. I also heard flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela and the basist/singer Richard Bona with their own bands. In Bona's band played Etienne Stadtwijk from Suriname . Stadtwijk played keyboards on Belafonte's 2003 European Tour.
Last year I heard pianist Jean-Michel Pilc (keyboards Belafonte's '98 tour), Jose Neto (guitar on several Belafonte tours), Edson DaSilva, also named Cafe (percussion on "An Evening with Belafonte and Friends"), Romero Lubambo (guitar on Belafonte '93 Tour) and Neil Clark (Belafonte's percussionist in the eighties). Before the concert with Neil Clark I spoke with Neil and told him I remembered him from his Belafonte-period and that he appears on 2 Belafonte concert video's I have. He was really amazed and impressed that I remembered him and after the concert he looked for me to say goodbye. He's playing with pianist Randy Weston now, a very good and sincere artist who puts African things into jazz-improvisations.
We'll keep in touch and all the best,
Gert-Jan

Nov 22, 2004
The Greenberg Sessions

Hi,
I am trying to find three Harry Belafonte tracks that my father, Jack Greenberg, played on in 1953. He died 30 years ago and I am now in the process of tracking down the recordings he was on.
The 3 tracks are: Matilda , Venezuela and Kukla-Mu.
Thanks and best wishes,
Michael

Hi Albert,
Thanks to you I have just found those 3 recordings. It’s so exciting to know that somewhere in that music my father is playing!
Best wishes,
Michael

December 2, 2004
Künstler für den Frieden, 2LP Live Set

Dear Hans & Carlo,
I am absolutely thrilled about this latest totally unexpected development which I am about to reveal to you. Believe it or not, I have just acquired an Austrian double album featuring Belafonte on 3 tracks (the first being an interpretation of “Nonqonqo” in duet with Letta Mbulu, the second a speech, and the third leading the artists in a rousing version of “Peace On Earth” a composition by Jake Holmes never recorded in North America). It’s a live concert production from 1982 and I am now anxiously awaiting its arrival. Possibly you know something more about this release. For instance might it still be available in used vinyl shops over there? The cover is a gatefold design with an interesting collage of photos.
Best regards,
Albert

From album cover:-
Künstler für den Frieden
HUNDERTWASSER cover, Künstler für den Frieden in Vienna 11/82: double lp, various artists including Letta Mbulu, Harry Belafonte, 6 Nov 1982 15 UHR
Wien Stathalle

Dear Albert,
I have never seen this one. As it is from a Vienna concert it has probably been released in Austria only. But I have something similar from the " Künstler für den Frieden " (artists for peace) from the 1981 Tour in Germany. It is a live recording from the final concert in Dortmund,  Germany on November 21, 1981. The "Artists for Peace" movement worked against US atomic missiles in Germany. On the concert 2-LP set I have, Belafonte is not credited as a performer. He only gives a statement at the end of the concert. This is all I know, only a small contribution. 
Good luck with your purchase,
Hans

Dec 4, 2004
Belafonte Classics

Great website. Like many others I am a great admirer of Harry Belafonte, both as an entertainer and also a civil rights activist. I am interested in securing two of his songs. One is Marianne (Sifting Sand), the other "Jordan Road" (we are going down). I am not sure of the exact title but you probably know the song.
Keep up the good work.
Regards, Bob in Toronto

Dear Bob,
Belafonte never did a full length version of Marianne. It's available only as what you might call a teaser (i.e. part of a calypso medley performed in concert). As for Goin' Down Jordan, there are 2 distinct recordings, both from studio sessions. The first from 1961 was released at the time by RCA in slightly edited form. The full track appeared (on CD) much later - 1994. The other  recording, a duet with Falumi Prince, was released on the CBS label in 1977, but strangely only in Europe

Details :-
Marianne
1st Version –
1972 RCA-VPSX-6077 Belafonte ...
Live!  (2LP set)
Part of Carnival Medley (17:20)
2nd Version –
1974 RCA-R4P5054 Belafonte In Japan  (2LP set)
Part of Carnival Medley (16:00)

Goin' Down Jordan

1st Version –
(3:34) 1961 RCA-LPM-2388 Jump Up Calypso LP (abbreviated track)
(3:49) 1994 BMG-07863-52388-2 Jump Up Calypso CD Reissue (same track but unedited)
2nd Version –
(5:34) CBS-CB86045 1977 Turn The World Around LP CBS-Sony-25AP-1581

Hope this narrows your search.
Kind regards, Albnut
 

December 7, 2004
Gomen Nasai 

Hello,
A friend asked me about a Belafonte song with a title something like "go minisi," perhaps Japanese. She thought the song was early and had heard it on 78. 
Thanks, David
Vancouver, Washington

Hello David,
The recording you are referring to is Gomen Nasai (Forgive Me)-
RCA 47-5210 Single Play Recording, Year 1953, 2:31
(written by Dr. B. Mayers-Raymond Hattori)
Flipside - Springfield Mountain (Too Roo De Nay), 2:28
with Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Henri René
Recorded 6 February 1953
Produced by Dave Kapp
Harry Belafonte recorded this number under protest. He had been with RCA Victor for a year and his recordings had not been selling all that well despite his growing popularity on Broadway and the concert circuit. The artist and repertoire people at RCA came across this tune and thought that it was a perfect fit for Belafonte. They were hopeful that it would find its way onto the pop charts. After expressing his reservations, Harry felt he had no choice but to play along with them. It is significant that he refused to promote the recording and never once sang the song in concert. That said, his interpretation of this love ballad is quite catchy and it is evident that he was moved by its sentiment. But it just didn't fit into his act.
Hope this helps,
Regards, Albnut

December 8, 2004
Belafonte Classics

Hi Albert,
Thanks a great deal for this information. I will check on the availability of the recordings you listed. I was particularly intrigued by the Marianne tune (All Day All Night) as I remember singing it in early elementary school. From research on the Internet, it seems it originated somewhere around 1945, and was credited to a Trinidadian, who performed under the name of "Roaring Lion." It was also sung by “Lord Invader" who performed with Harry Belafonte, but died in 1961. I have not heard Belafonte’s version of Going Down Jordan in nearly 40 years and will try to find it on CD.
Again, thanks a lot for bringing me up to date.
Regards, Bob
For much more on the great calypsonians and their songs visit
www.calypsoworld.org

Dear Bob,
I have Marianne on a 45 single by Terry Gilkyson and the Easyriders from 1956. It's very melodic and rhythmic with a background of acoustic guitar and bongos. A classic, in my opinion, it made its way up the charts at the time. Burl Ives also did a nice job on it but the Gilkyson interpretation was the one that caught on. Another number that was quite popular during that period was Memories Are Made Of This, by Dean Martin. A Caribbean flavoured ballad written by Gilkyson, It was driven by that same backdrop of guitars.

There has got to be a long list of artists who recorded Marianne. Back in 50s there was a tendency for pop "vocalists" to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, when a "new" tune was in play and showing promise. In the case of a popular ditty called Davy Crocket, I seem to recall the number of recordings quickly surpassing 30 with no end in sight. Disk jockeys began to wonder whether it might be simpler to just state who hadn't recorded the number.

Marianne is the recurring theme in the carnival medley that Harry Belafonte has been doing for the past 30 years. The Goin' Down Jordan track is powerful ... Harry at the very top of his game in 1961.

Please let me know how you make out with your search.
Regards, Albnut

Hi Albert,
It's probably almost impossible to get Gilkyson's rendition of Marianne here, but the next time I am in New York City, I'll check it out. I also do vaguely remember hearing the Burl Ives interpretation in Jamaica in the early sixties.
Regards, Bob

Dec 17, 2004
Künstler für den Frieden, 2LP Live Set

Dear Albert,
What a great find! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! - 2 additional Belafonte tracks we didn't know about. Which is the label and catalog number of the record?
Ciao, Carlo

Dear Albert,
It is very exciting that Harry really performs on this program, as this did not happen on the concert I have. Maybe he did on the German show, but this was not released, probably for contractual reasons or whatever. 
Kind regards,
Hans  

January 11, 2005
Our Harry

Dear Albert,
Words cannot express my joy to find your site. Just a few days ago I started to be “in the net” and now I happen to find your beautiful gift for all of us Belafonte-manics. This summer it will be 50 years when I started to admire Harry, the best entertainer in the world.
I have been trying again and again - without success - to get in touch with Belafonte Enterprises. I understand that they cannot answer millions of letters but at least they could mail a photo or autograph.
Thank you so very much – shall keep in touch.
Best, Hans in Tenerife

Dear Hans in Tenerife,
It is so nice to hear from you especially considering that you have been a Belafonte fan for as long as I. This may come as a surprise to you but I get little mail from people who are not already regular contributors to "Belafonte Tracks." But such are the ways of the Internet. However feedback from serious music lovers like you makes it all worthwhile.
As regards Belafonte Enterprises and the unanswered mail, it is my belief that he decided very early on not to participate in such activity, preferring instead to devote his time to humanitarian causes. When you look at what he has accomplished outside of his singing and acting careers it is absolutely astounding.
Fan sites and a loose network of collectors can only go so far in protecting the Belafonte heritage. There’s been talk on the inside about building an official website but the project appears to be inactive at the present time.
When you have a free moment please tell me more about your interest in Belafonte.
Kind regards, Albnut

January 12, 2005

Dear Albert,
Through all those fifty years of admiration I have been quite alone with my fanatic adoration (“I reveal how I do adore HIM, hang my heart on a sleeve just for HIM…”). Friends around me always like his songs, his looks, his voice, and his interpretations but don’t get caught by the entire personality because of the language barrier. You must know that I am living on the “Island in the Sun”, called Tenerife ( Canary Islands ) since twenty years. Spanish people here hardly know Harry. Some of the elder ones remember “Day-O” and that’s it.
The situation in Germany is different. Our generation still has a lot of Belafonte fans but I call them “sleeping fans” because they are not active like we are. But whenever you mention his name they go: “oh yeah, that was the most beautiful music of my youth!” Nearly every German remembers “ Island in the Sun”, “Banana Boat Song”, “Jamaica Farewell”, “Haiti Chérie”, “Come Back Liza” and “Matilda.” I still play a little guitar and sing those old Calypsos to friends and guests whenever we get together (Germans who live here) and everybody joins in humming (because most never understood the words). But when I start they ask for more and more and you can see it in their eyes and faces that Harry gave a lot of joy to them. It is still present deep inside after all those years.
By the way, do you know where I could buy a video tape or DVD of my favourite movie “The world, the flesh and the devil” which I haven’t seen for forty years: “I am Ralph Burton – I’m alive!” It was so touching when he sang “Fifteen” to that dressing doll. That’s it for today.
Keep in touch, Hans 

Dear Hans in Tenerife,
Thank you so much for taking the time to relate your most interesting story. As far as I know "The World, The Flesh and The Devil" has never been released commercially on VHS or DVD, only Laser Disc. However it does show up regularly in both formats on eBay, but these are “pirated” copies. Often they come complete with cover graphics to make them look authentic. That is not to say that they are not great dubs.
Talking about Germany, Harry has a huge following there, a fact confirmed by the monthly traffic to this site.
Kind regards,
Albert

January 31, 2005
Künstler für den Frieden, 2LP Live Set

Dear Albert,
I had heard "Peace on Earth" only once at the Munich concert (in 1983) but this is a completely different arrangement, faster than what I remember, but we should know by now that Harry never does a song twice in the same way!
Another strange thing is that I see no label of a major record company. It's just the album title.
My best regards,
Ciao, Carlo

February 12, 2005
Shame & Bucket

Dear Albnut,
There are many sites claiming Harry Belafonte covered the famous calypso song “Shame and Scandal in the Family,” but I can't find it anywhere on record. Maybe he used a different title or only sang it in concert?
I'm also on the lookout for a possible older recording of the song “There's A Hole in the Bucket,” which seems to have its origins in Germany. Do you know perhaps where Harry (or Odetta) got it from?
Many thanks,
Walter from Belgium

Dear Walter,
“Shame and Scandal” has been covered by quite a wide range of artists all the way from Burl Ives through The Merrymen and the Esso Steel Band of Bermuda but never Belafonte. It certainly has not been recorded by him nor have I heard of it being performed by him in concert. You might say it's another “Yellow Bird,” a song many attribute to Belafonte but one he never included in his act.
I do not pretend to be any kind of musicologist but the “Bucket” theme carries through American folklore. In the early 1950s Hank Williams even recorded a tune called “My Bucket's Got A Hole In It” which is associated with beer drinking. I'm not suggesting any direct tie in terms of melody line between this song and the Odetta ditty but, back then, popular themes most certainly underwent major transformation as they were passed on from artist to artist, so who knows? I believe Odetta was responsible for krafting the humorous wrap-around that shows up in the “Return to Carnegie” interpretation. Falumi Prince remained true to Odetta's reading but took the number to a whole different place on the 1977 LP 'Turn The World Around.” Of interest, Harry and Falumi have subsequently performed it in concert giving it a decided Jamaican flavour. The process of evolution carries on.
It’s nice to hear from Belgium , the home of so many ardent Belafonte fans. Let's keep in touch.
Kind regards,
Albnut

February 14, 2005

Dear Albert.
About “Shame & Scandal,” I can give up my search, thanks for that.
About “Bucket's Got A Hole In It,” most associated with Hank Williams, this is certainly a very different one! It has its roots in the New Orleans area. There are many jazz-like recordings from this one, made in the 1920s and 30s. There is of course a similarity in the wordplay.
About “There's A Hole In My Bucket,” I only know Pete Seeger recorded it in 1961, the year after Odetta & Belafonte. But recently I read something about it in a discussion group on folksongs.
”’Wenn der Topf aber nun ein Loch hat' is printed in the 1911 'Zupfgeigenhansel' with the notes that it has been taken from an older book (no date given) and that it is found “all over Germany ”. There's another song, 'Ein Loch ist im Eimer', that’s quite close in lyrics and story but has a completely different tune. In both German songs, the female Liese = Liza is the stupid thing who asks advice from Heinrich = Henry. The tune of ‘Ein Loch ist im Eimer’ sounds similar to the American 'There's a Hole in my bucket'. In his book ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ (1993), Pete Seeger says the original song was called "Lieber Heinrich." He says he doesn't know who translated it from the German or when. Apparently, he thinks he's using the original German tune.”
(Wolfgang und Wilfried Schaum op www.mudcat.org).
This reveals much, but not all, I was only hoping you would know something more, but thanks anyway.
Regards, Walter from Belgium 

Dear Walter,
Well it appears I completely misread part of your message, hence the strange response to question on the German origins of “There's A Hole In My Bucket.” I am impressed both with the extent of your own research into the subject and information available through the “Mudcat” site. In the past I have sometimes wanted to trace all of the recordings of a given song. I'm wondering now whether “Mudcat” might be the place to begin such an endeavour. I will be spending time there very soon. Many thanks for the lead.
Regards, Albert

February 17, 2005  

Dear Albert,
A very good place to start your endeavour would be the Belgian site on which I regularly make contributions myself: www.originals.be It has a Dutch and an English part ... if you type for instance "Belafonte" in the SEARCH unit with "Others", about thirty songs Harry recorded will appear, tracing down their origins.
If you are really interested in these matters (like I am), you could also consider buying the book that carries even more topics (but do wait for the 5th edition, which is about to appear after the summer).
And yes, www.mudcat.org is a very useful (and easy accessible) site too, for your inquiries, their emphasis being mostly on lyrics, but sometimes too difficult for a Dutch-speaking person to fully comprehend.
Regards, Walter from Belgium 

February 15, 2005
Voice from the UK

Hello,
I recently bought the BMG reissue of 'The Many Moods of Belafonte”. Inside was reference to the “Belafonte Tracks” website. I gather you have not had many replies from the UK . Well I am from the Newcastle upon Tyne area in the north of England. Over the years I have been replacing my LP collection with the CD versions. Most of the recordings, like Belafonte's, go back to the sixties. It was by pure chance that my eye caught this recent reissue. The other album from this period that I still have on LP is “Streets I have Walked.” And as far as I am aware it has not had a CD issue. I e-mailed BMG but they haven't replied.
I will keep looking at your website.
Regards,
Peter in the UK

Dear Peter,
So you people are really out there after all !
Belafonte did a number of TV specials in England starting in the late 1950s and carrying through into the 1970s. Some are listed in the TV pages on the site. There must be TV guide listings and press critiques somewhere in the archives covering these shows. We have such information on many appearances in the US and Canada so surely it exists also in the UK
Next I will address the subject of LP reissues on CD. Here, to our knowledge, is the complete list of Belafonte albums that have been reissued on CD to date. Some come with original artwork and liner notes while others are part of a double/triple album or boxed set (Bear Family). I will refrain from attempting to qualify these projects as to the extent of remastering ("remixing and remastering from session tapes"), a subject which is being hotly debated in musical circles these days. Please do not hesitate to correct me should you notice any errors or omissions.

Belafonte albums reissued on CD
Mark Twain (Bear Family Box)
Belafonte (Bear Family Box)
Calypso (BMG-USA, also Bear Family Box, also Japan 3on1)
An Evening With Belafonte (Bear Family Box)
Belafonte Sings Of The Caribbean (Bear Family Box)
Belafonte Sings The Blues (BMG-USA)
To Wish You A Merry Christmas (BMG-USA)
Carnegie Hall (BMG-USA a 1CD abbreviated concert, also Germany a 2CD full concert)
Porgy & Bess (CéDé label as “Summertime …,” also 2CD set Jamaica/Porgy & Bess (L. Horne)
My Lord What A Mornin' (BMG-EC)
Returns to Carnegie Hall (BMG-USA)
Jump Up Calypso (BMG-USA, also Japan a 3on1, also Germany a 2on1 with Midnight Special)
Midnight Special ( Germany a 2on1 with Jump Up Calypso)
The Many Moods Of Belafonte (BMG-UK, a 2on1 with Ballads, Blues and Boasters)
Streets I Have Walked ( Japan )
Ballads, Blues and Boasters (BMG-UK, a 2on1 with The Many Moods Of Belafonte)
An Evening with Belafonte / Mouskouri
An Evening with Belafonte / Makeba ( Germany )
Calypso Carnival ( Japan 3on1)
Loving You Is Where I Belong ( Columbia )  

I am sure glad to be in contact with you and look forward to an ongoing exchange of information on this topic of mutual interest.
Kind regards,
Albnut

February 26, 2005

Hello Albert,
Thanks for your E-mail.  I don't actually have a computer at home and use the facility at the public library. So I don't pick up messages straight away but am usually in at least once a week.
I am not in touch with any other Belafonte fans.  I have a fairly wide range of musical interests from classical to popular.  When I say popular I mean for example Frank Sinatra. I am not into anything that passes for music these days.
One of my other folk heroes is Tom Paxton.  He is currently touring the UK and I attended his Newcastle concert last Wednesday.
Regarding the recordings list you sent, one I am really keen to get hold of, is "Streets I Have Walked". You have that listed as a Japanese issue.  Have you any ideas as to how I might obtain a copy. 
Nice to hear from you,
Regards, Peter in the UK

Hello Peter,
I guess I'm showing my age here but my focus has always been on vinyl recordings or, let's say, recordings as they were originally released. It's only in the past 10 or so years that I have accepted the notion that I must back up my Belafonte collection with reissues on CD where they exist. As a consequence I have allowed some to get by me and sadly they are now long out of print. Such is the case with "Streets I Have Walked," a shear beauty of an album. You can actually sense the excitement in the air that prevailed throughout those studio sets. The real-life laughter and giggles set it apart from anything else Belafonte has done.
Best regards, Albert
PS- Tom Paxton is certainly a legendary performer in the folk field and many others have covered his material but I can't say I've really followed him. I'm not sure why that is because he's one of the best in the field and has endured all these years.

April 6, 2005
Early Appearances at Montreal Venues

Hi Albert,
I lived in Montreal for thirty years!! I think Harry played Her Majesty's Theatre or the Seville Theatre in Montreal in the 60's.
Ken Fairlie, Oceanside, California

Dear Ken,
Wow !! You are one of the very few who are aware of Belafonte's early appearance at the Seville . Unfortunately I was not living in Montreal at the time. A friend did happen to take catch it and his recollections are recounted in “Rambles” on this site.
Ken, actually the Seville may still be there but of course defunct and boarded up. I wonder whether you can add anything further to the above story. Is it possible Harry played there more than once?
Thanks for taking the time to share your memories.
Kind regards, Albnut

April 7, 2005

Hi Albert,
In the 50's I literally lived at The Seville on Ste. Catherine Street . In those days, the artists usually contracted to perform for four days doing two shows a day on weekdays and three shows on Saturdays and Sundays. In between performances, the theatre showed a full length film. So if you didn't mind viewing the film twice, you could sit through another performance by the artist or artists. The second show always was different from the first. CJAD announcer Mike Stephens was host for many of the shows. He would also have the artists appear on his afternoon radio program. (Those who failed to do so suffered by not having their records played on a regular basis.) I believe I saw the Belafonte show on one occasion, but I am not sure what date. (I do know that I somehow managed to wiggle my way into the theatre many times before I had reached the age of 16-at that time the required age for admittance.
I was back in Montreal a few years ago and was saddened to see the disrepair that the Seville was in. I did take some great photos of the Seville and will email you a copy or two when I can retrieve them. The city of Montreal should have named the Seville a historic site and gone to many measures to preserve it.
Regards,
Ken Fairlie in California

April 11, 2005  
Montreal Venues Ongoing
Enter Mr. Sam Gesser, Impresario

Dear Ken,
I had a chance encounter with Sam Gesser last week at the Place des Arts. He, of course, is the impresario who brought big-name acts like Belafonte, Makeba, and Mouskouri to Montreal over the years and also booked them across Canada. He just turned 80 and there was an exhibit at the Place des Arts honouring his contribution to the arts. I had just finished scouting all the display panels and was getting ready to do some serious note-taking when he showed up with a friend in tow. He was introducing this gentleman to the individual displays so I tagged along and they were kind enough to tolerate my intrusion. Very nice fellow, Mr. Gesser, but I really wanted to talk to him privately. His personal history is a must-read.
I did get to pop the question on the Seville and his best guess was 1954 which fits with what my friend Ron had told me.
Regards, Albert  

April 17, 2005  

Hi Albert,
I believe Harry may have also played Her Majesty's Theatre in Montreal (Guy Street ?). I recall going there for a bluegrass concert in May 1963. The theatre hosted many other acts over the years.
Best regards,
Ken in California

April 23, 2005
My Inspiration, Idol & Hero

I am a white feminist American folk singer.....whenever I'm asked who my primary influences have been, the first on my list is HARRY BELAFONTE! No one else comes close. Belafonte's range of musical expression, his international spirit, his humor, his tenderness, his ability to perfectly articulate difficult words so that the listener understands them perfectly the first time.....all these qualities make him my idol and model. Belafonte was the soundtrack of my childhood and all my happy times are bound up with the melodies of the albums he released year after year for admiring fans all over the world. 
Everyone who reads this knows already what he means to them and to the world - but I'm writing this just in case Belafonte himself reads these, so he can hear how much he means to so many of us. 
I just sang in a restaurant tonight and did a whole set of calypso and Caribbean covers all from Belafonte. The whole restaurant swayed in time. To be 1 / 10 the musician that Belafonte is, to reach people 1/10 as passionately, to be 1/10 as charismatic would be a goal to which any other musician would gladly aspire.
I salute you and celebrate you, Harry! 
Kristin Lems
musician, educator, student of life
Website: www.kristinlems.com

September 6, 2005
Ich singe was ich sehe
("I sing what I see")

Dear Albert,
I am so glad to have found your wonderful site about Mr. Belafonte. I wish to put a message on the fan board and I think the way to do this is through your e-mail. Forgive me if I am mistaken but here it goes: 
I have seen Harry Belafonte's 1980 concert in Munich for about a hundred times on an old video tape but needless to say the tape is worn out by now. It would really mean a lot to my old father, who is a big fan of Harry Belafonte ever since he saw this concert, if I could find it. So if anyone has a recording in any format of Ich singe was ich sehe (I sing what I see) please please get in touch. I am more than willing to pay for it. I believe it was held in Circus Krone in Munich around November or December of 1980. Nana Mouskouri and Letta Mbulu were guests. 
Thank you in advance,
Red Robot

Dear Readers,
Yes, Red has it pegged. It was November 27, 1980 as per the outline given in TV8 on this site. Does anyone have this elusive concert in any form? If so please contact me at
<anuttall@videotron.ca> and I will relay your message to Red.
Sincerely, Albnut

October 6, 2005
Beat Street Mystery Track

Hi Albert & Judy,
I'm desperately trying to find a track that I think is by Harry Belafonte. It appeared briefly in the film "Beat Street" that he co-produced and worked on the soundtrack. The track is not on either volumes 1 or 2 of the Beat Street soundtrack. I've attached a small mp3 from the film with the music in question (it's masked somewhat as it's a DJ mix).
Any help greatly appreciated!
Kind Regards,
Mex in the UK

Dear Mex,
Sorry, can't help you here. All I can say for sure is that Harry's voice does not come through on the clip. The music is very catchy though and I can appreciate why you would be chasing after it. Judy may know more.
Good luck with your mission.
Kind regards, Albnut

October 11, 2005
Personal Ties  

I was, through my family, a personal friend of Mr. Belafonte.
This is a wonderful site.
Congratulations,
Rod 

Dear Rod, 
Thanks for your very generous words of praise.
I must say it has been an incredible journey. “Belafonte Tracks” started out strictly as a discography of “first issues” but then took on a life of its own, branching out into films, TV, etc. The site hasn't been revised since June but there are a series of updates in the making. It's just that I am caught up right now in other pursuits. I'll get back to it in November. 
I met Belafonte for the first time in Toronto in the fall of 2001 when my daughters presented him with a bound printout of this site and then again in Helsinki in March of 2003. A most extraordinary talent and human being ! 
Kind regards, Albnut

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