Personnel: Harry Belafonte (vocals).
Arrangers: Hugo Montenegro; Robert Freedman; Marty Manning; William Eaton.
Harry Belafonte's stylistic range is vast, encompassing pop, jazz, folk, and world music. A compilation that restricts itself to Belafonte's love songs could not and should not be deemed comprehensive in any sense ("Day-O," for example, which would not make an appropriate courting anthem, is not included here). But the love song may be Belafonte's forte--his sophisticated style, smooth delivery, and radiant voice have such sultry qualities that smoke rises off even his most casual vocal inflection.
The opener, a cover of Ray Charles's "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," is a case in point. A slinky, toned-down version of the original, Belafonte's performance is a study in seduction. Though the collection focuses only on Belafonte's swoon-inducing material, there are samples of his famed West Indies flavor with Calypso songs like "Angelina" and "My Angel (Malaika), a duet with Miriam Makeba. The two tunes from PORGY & BESS (with Lena Horne sharing vocal duties on "Bess, You Is My Woman") are among the highlights on this well selected and--yes--romantic collection.