Various Artists

Hit Parade 1951

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This collection offers more than its share of memorable 1950s-era hits, some -- Les Paul's "How High the Moon," Johnnie Ray's "Cry" -- still worthwhile a half-century later and a few ("Come On-A My House" by Rosemary Clooney) requiring explanation and maybe an apology or two. It was a light, sometimes silly era, and novelty tunes still had a lot of appeal, even next to some superb serious vocalizing, such as Nat King Cole's "Too Young." Mantovani provides the instrumental contingent, and one odd novelty tune -- "On Top of Old Smokey" by Terry Gilkyson and the Weavers -- showed five formidable talents performing well below their potential, if not their inherent level of appeal. The sound is good throughout, and the artwork is entertaining, although, as with the rest of this series, there is no annotation.

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