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Hit Parade 1952
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Tommy Mercer (vocals).
  • Except for Ella Mae Morse with "The Blacksmith Blues," Pearl Bailey's "It Takes Two to Tango" (which offers a pretty hot guitar break), and maybe -- maybe -- Johnnie Ray's "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," there's not a trace of rhythm or blues, forget rhythm & blues, anywhere to be found on this 25-song compilation. Which is as it should be -- the airwaves were pretty tame and tightly controlled in those days, and audiences supposedly knew what they wanted. The record companies obliged, and the result is this selection, made of smooth high-class pop, a few slightly challenging pieces, and oddball novelty tunes such as "Bermuda" by the Bell Sisters (which is so goofy that it's practically worth the price of the CD by itself). Enduring talents like Doris Day are juxtaposed next to crash-and-burn figures of the time such as Mario Lanza, and the ubiquitous Georgia Gibbs' "Kiss of Fire" follows Leroy Anderson's "Blue Tango." One entertaining digression here is Peggy Lee's "Lover," set to a highly animated accompaniment by Gordon Jenkins. And Jo Stafford turns "Jambalaya" into a silly novelty tune. The sound is consistently good, and the cover design is pleasingly nostalgic. And, as with the rest of this series, there is no annotation. ~ Bruce Eder
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