The Hit Parade

The Sound of the Hit Parade

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The last album by the Hit Parade, by this time officially a duo of singer/songwriter Julian Henry and programmer/producer Raymond Watts, with various guests including their Sarah Records labelmate Harvey Williams on guitar and legendary ligger Cath Carroll on vocals, is fairly relentlessly bleak. The occasional mopery of the duo's earlier records is a fully-fledged worldview on The Sound of the Hit Parade. The song titles tell the whole story: "As I Lay Dying," "Farewell My Lido," "She Won't Come Back," "Crying." Henry even makes the move of Sarah Records' home office from Bristol to London in "House of Sarah" sound like an ominous portent. (The again, the label did close less than two years later...). The temptation to tell Henry to have a drink and pull himself together is a little overwhelming at times, but Watts' clean and sparkly, but not antiseptic, production makes this the Hit Parade's best-sounding record ever, and it's melodically richer than before. For its flaws, this is the Hit Parade at their best.

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