Since Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba had appeared together in concert frequently in the early '60s, customers spying an LP called An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba might reasonably have assumed that the record would contain a joint live performance by the two, and that might help explain why this album charted in the Top 100 despite its challenging material. To begin with, it is not a live album, but rather a studio recording. And it isn't so much a duo album, for the most part, as a joint album; Belafonte and Makeba perform together on only two tracks, "Train Song" and "Cannon." Otherwise, they split up the selections, each appearing on five.
Harry Belafonte's first album features a solid variety of songs from American folk tradition, learned during his studies of folk music at the Library of Congress in the early 1950s. He had signed with RCA Victor in 1952, recording a series of well-received singles. Belafonte's new-found love for music of the West Indies can be found in songs such as "Man Piaba" (which he wrote) along with songs from English and Scottish tradition such as "Lord Randall" and "The Drummer & the Cook." Songs from African-American tradition include the chain gang song "Tol' My Captain" and the ubiquitous "John Henry." Mark Twain was a good initial effort, but Belafonte's repertoire and delivery would get stronger with the next album.
This CD contains many lesser known christmas songs such as "I heard the bells on christmas day" , "Star in the East" and Christmas is coming". It also contains Harry Belafonte's christmas contribution "Mary's Boy Child" as well as the very beautiful "The gifts they gave" There is also the inspirational "Jehova the lord will provide". There is also the standard "Silent NIght" and " 12 days of Christmas". Many of the songs are the less traditional Christmas carols.
An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte's staggering talent, good looks, and masterful assimilation of folk, jazz, and worldbeat rhythms allowed him to achieve a level of mainstream eminence and crossover popularity virtually unparalleled in the days before the advent of the civil rights movement – a cultural uprising which he himself helped spearhead…