Sauter-Finegan Orchestra: Hit the Road to Dreamland


Hit the Road to Dreamland


The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra


The Best of Sauter-Finegan (Collector's Choice Music CCM 078-2)

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Eddie Sauter (leader), Bill Finegan (leader, arranger),

Nick Travis, Joe Ferrante, Bobby Nichols (trumpets), Bill Harris, Vern Friley, Bart Varsalona (trombones), Bill Barber (tuba), Sid Cooper, Joe Palmeri, Al Klink, Charles Albertine, Danny Bank (reeds), Mundell Lowe (guitar), Ralph Burns (piano), Verlye Mills (harp), Trigger Alpert (bass), Don Lamond (drums), John Blowers, Richard Ridgely, Phil Kraus (percussion). Vocals by Joe Mooney and The Doodlers (Sally Sweetland, Lillian Clark, Gene Lowell, Artie Malvin, Steve Steck)


Composed by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen. Arranged by Bill Finegan


Recorded: New York, November 3, 1952


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

This version of the Mercer-Arlen gem is a gem itself, issued as the 'B' side of a single and forgotten until Collector's Choice dug it out of the vault. Eddie and Bill had the pick of the New York musicians' pool on their sessions, and when someone couldn't make a date, there were any number of other excellent players who could fill in. Even the singers were the best in the business: Sweetland had been a busy vocal dubber in Hollywood, Lillian Clark was a member of the Clark Sisters and Mrs. Sy Oliver, Malvin and Steck were members of Glenn Miller's AAF Orchestra during the war. Mooney's participation was icing on the cake; Bill's first wife Kay was a big fan of the pianist/accordionist/arranger/singer, and would manage him during the mid-'60s.

The arrangement is clearly Finegan, as he seemed to immerse himself in the manifold colors of the band more than Sauter (most of the time anyway). Amidst the imitation of bells by the singers and a lot of woodwind and percussion colors, the intro ends and the band swings in medium tempo. The singers take over in continued hip fashion; one nice touch occurs when Mooney sings ".... in the land of Nod," and the singers fire back, "and Wynken and Blynken," not part of the original lyric. After the vocal, almost the entire first part of the record repeats, returning to the bell imitation. The singers return speaking "Sleep?.....Sleep" with a run on the celeste in the background. The record is clever without being gimmicky, welcome sounds in the morass of the pop music of the early '50s.

Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof

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