Ralph Marterie

Young America Dances

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Young America Dances is an attempt to sell old-fashioned big-band dance music to the teen audience. The title reflects the wishful thinking of bandleader Ralph Marterie, who is pictured on the cover tooting his trumpet as a congo line of genteel "young Americans" smiles approvingly. The liner notes claim that American teens weren't dancing like they used to until Marterie came along and got "young America dancing as it never danced before," but it's hard to imagine that middle of the road swing arrangements of show tunes and oldies such as "It's Delovely" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" were in great demand among the youth of America in 1956. Marterie's horn solos may have impressed jazz fans, but the kids were waiting to hear Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk." A couple of cuts show that Marterie had some dim awareness of contemporary music, such as his rendition of Plas Johnson's "Last Call," which is a raunchy stroll tune, and the original "Alcatraz Rock," which at least acknowledges the existence of rock & roll in its title even if it sounds nothing like it. In sum, Young America Dances is hardly a new adventure for Marterie -- it's very similar to his albums Junior Prom, Swing Baby, and many other big-band dance records he put out on Mercury.