by Peter Cates
Dancing on the Down Beat
Mercury- MG 25171, ten inch vinyl lp, recorded 1953.
Born in Italy, Ralph Marterie came to America at a very early age with his parents, where they settled in Chicago and his father landed a job with the Lyric Opera Orchestra. He was playing trumpet in high school and was hired by NBC Radio during the pre- World War II years, working with Percy Faith and Andre Kostelanetz. After the war, his experience with ABC Radio would lead to a contract with the Chicago-based Mercury Records, itself just newly established and a story for another week.
Dancing on the Down Beat contains selections that cater to both dancing and careful listening; its extroverted, skillfully crafted arrangements, similar to such ‘50s groups as Les Brown, Les Elgart, Les Baxter and Ralph Flanagan, gave temporary new blood to the big band style of the ‘40s that had dominated jazz and pop music. (The same first names of bandleaders are strictly coincidental!) The provided dance tunes – Down Beat, Pretend – one of two Marterie singles to win a gold record, the Russian gypsy folk song Dark Eyes, La Rosita, After Midnight, Everything I Have Is Yours, Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King and Thru for the Night add up to a very well-planned, solid LP.
Marterie and his band toured on and off for over 20 years until October 10, 1978, when he died at 63 after a one-nighter.
starring Tom Selleck, Len Cariou, Donnie Wahlberg, etc.
Blue Bloods is a TV show, now in its seventh season, that is seen weekly on CBS and the first six seasons on Netflix. It presents four generations of an Irish Catholic family, the Reagans, who serve, or have served, in law enforcement in New York City. Pop Henry Reagan, the 70thish patriarch, and portrayed brilliantly by Len Cariou, started as a cop back in the ‘60s and worked his way up to police commissioner before he retired; son Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is now police commissioner and dealing with post 9/11 challenges his father never faced; one grandson, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a successful detective who is frequently the character of interest due to his righteously dramatic personality and frequent loose cannonish approach to catching very bad people. Another son and daughter are involved as well and bring so much to the story line, which usually has at least two or three plots taking turns holding one’s attention very skillfully.
The crimes take up a share of each episode but politics and human relationships are given the most intelligent and entertaining treatment, while every good or bad character compels interest. The show promotes integrity of the most scrupulous nature, family, loyalty, hard work and matters of faith while the weekly family Sunday dinner gatherings of all members at the homestead of Pop and Frank, both widowers, are priceless for conversation, sheer fun and humor, while being often equal to the suspenseful plots.
I am working my way through all of the back episodes on Netflix one to three episodes a night and finished the first five seasons last night!
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