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Inconsistency In Content The Hallmark Of This Series
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This series dates back about a decade and covers the Mercury years of the likes of Eddy Howard, Vic Damone, Georgia Gibbs, The Crew Cuts, The Diamonds, The Gaylords, Tony Martin, The Penguins, The Danleers, and The Del-Vikings. Each presents the music in excellent sound reproduction and carries several pages of informative liner notes, in this instance four pages by noted author and music historian Joseph F. Laredo.
They also provide a discography of the contents, and from that you learn that no less than nine of the 25 tracks were failed singles, while eight were culled from Marterie E.P.'s or LP's. Which means eight represent what most collectors regard as an artist's "best" - the singles that got them heard on the radio and jukeboxes and sold in sufficient quantities to earn the sobriquet "hit."
And in a span of seven years while recording for Mercury, Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra had 12 such hits. So, why would they release a single volume labeled his "best" and then proceed to leave out four legitimate hits? And it isn't only for this volume in the series that they took this approach.
Omitted, for example, was his first hit, So Long (It's Been Good To Know Yuh), which peaked at # 26 in March 1951, although they do include his second and third hits which didn't come until 1953 when Pretend made it to # 6 early in the year, followed by Caravan which reached the same level in April/May. He then went head-to-head with Bill Haley with Haley's Comets on Crazy, Man, Crazy, losing out by the narrowest of margins after reaching # 13 that June compared to Haley's # 12. Doing the vocals on the Marterie rendition were Larry Rogen & The Smarty-Airs. Unfortunately, that is another omission from this compilation.
His next three hits are, however, included as Warsaw Concerto, from the film Suicide Squadron, topped out at # 27 in November 1953, The Creep from the Mexican film O Cangaceiro went to # 25 in January 1954, and Skokiaan, named for a Zulu tribal drink, peaked at # 3 in late summer 1954, becoming his best hit ever.
In early 1955, Blue Mirage (Don't Go) reached # 14 on the new Billboard Honor Roll Of Hits charts, and while that's here, his next two are not: The Song Of Love (# 84 Billboard Pop Top 100 in March 1955, and Theme From Picnic (# 64 Top 100 in May/June 1956 featuring Gus Bivona on alto sax - from the film of he same name). His last two hits, both here, then came in 1957 when Tricky reached # 25 that spring, and Shish-Kebab (also recorded by The Armenian Jazz Sextet as Harem Dance) made it to # 10 in May/June.
Ralph, who was born in Italy on December 24, 1914, and raised in Chicago, played trumpet in several bands before forming his own, including that of Enric Madriguera. He passed away at age 63 on August 10, 1978."
Richard L. Minnihan | 12/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Good selection of music (see list of contents). Full orchestration with many different good instrumental solos. Marterie trumpet sound reminiscent of Doc Severinsen. Tempo is upbeat, uplifting and enjoyable. I bought my cd used from Amazon and was in 'like new' condition."