Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali - I AM THE GREATEST! new CD


Track Listing
1. Round 1: I Am the Greatest
2. Round 2: I Am the Double Greatest
3. Round 3: Do You Have to Ask?
4. " He Said Playfully Round 4: "I Have Written a Drama
5. Round 5: Will the Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down
6. Round 6: Funny You Should Ask
7. Round 7: 2138
8. Round 8: the Knockout
9. Afterpiece
10. bonus track) I Am the Greatest - (single version
11. Stand by Me - (bonus track)
12. The - (bonus track) Gang's All Here

Album Notes
Personnel includes: Cassius Clay (vocals); Sam Cooke (arranger).Liner Note Authors: Milton Gross; Marianne Moore.Recording information: Colombia 30th Street Studios, NY (08/05/1963-03/03/1964).Photographers: Don Hunstein; Hank Parker; Bob Cato; Sandy Speiser.While the balance of sheer force and nimble grace that defined Muhammad Ali's style is unquestionable, it was just as much his pre-fight braggadocio and penchant for the poetic that made him the pre-eminent name in boxing history. I AM THE GREATEST, released in 1963 after a run of Olympic glory, as the loquacious warrior then still named Cassius Clay prepared for the heavyweight bout with Sonny Liston that would make his name a legend, captures many sides of the man whose words helped lift his American mythology to Paul Bunyan/Babe Ruth levels. Opening with a fanfare, and a dignified emcee's introduction before giving way to Clay's swagger, the record serves as both fascinating character study and eclectic timepiece.

Cassius Clay had yet to win the heavyweight championship or, indeed, to change his name when this 1963 recording was made. Incredibly young sounding, he's at his best here when making swipe after verbal swipe at Sonny Liston, both in verse and in (scripted?) answers to audience questions. One silly sketch ("'I Have Written a Drama,' He Said Playfully") isn't up to the solo spots, but even that hardly disrupts the record's giddy tone. This reissue of a once-rare LP, augmented by several other hard-to-find sides, is a must for Muhammad Ali fans, American Studies scholars, and anyone else who seeks further illumination of the Greatest's self-mocking but total confidence. --Rickey Wright
Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali - I AM THE GREATEST! new CD
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  • Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali - I AM THE GREATEST! new CD