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The Return of the Hit Parade

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Queen Of Mousehole is the best track

This is actually a classic old school pop record from the days of 'Sugar Sugar', the Carpenters and The Beach Boys. The Hit Parade have been doing this kind of music for years but they've never got picked up so you won't have heard of them. The Queen of Mousehole is one of the best records of 2007 and I know this because it's on the jukebox in the pub and gets a lot of play. Other good tracks are New Woman and It's a Dream which sounds a bit like them trying to do radiohead.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A duo of singer/songwriter Julian Henry, who plays guitar, and producer Raymond Watts, who plays keyboards and handles the programming, London's Hit Parade were perched on the divide between indie acoustic guitar jangle and dancefloor-friendly electronics for most of their career. Even more than St. Etienne, the Hit Parade make plain the connections between two styles often seen as widely disparate. Henry and Watts got together in the early '80s and began making bedroom recordings which they issued...
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The Return of the Hit Parade, The Hit Parade
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