Sauter-Finegan Orchestra: Nina Never Knew


Nina Never Knew


The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra


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

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Eddie Sauter (leader, arranger), Bill Finegan (leader), Joe Mooney (vocals), Nick Travis (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone),

The Doodlers: Sally Sweetland, Lillian Clark, Gene Lowell, Artie Malvin, Steve Steck (vocals), Joe Ferrante, Bobby Nichols (trumpets), 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)


Composed by Milton Drake & Louis Alter. Arranged by Eddie Sauter (?)


Recorded: New York, November 3, 1952


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Except for an instrumental midsection with solos by Travis (muted) and Harris, this recording features Joe Mooney backed by an all-star studio vocal group, all of whom had sung with top big bands during the 1940s, and were singing all over radio and television for commercials and live shows in 1952 and for many years afterward. Mooney originally had an act with his brother named The Sunshine Boys back in the '30s, went on to become a pianist and arranger for various big-name bands, and then led a quartet which only lasted a few years but has recently been rediscovered via reissues of its Decca Records and surviving air checks.

"Nina Never Knew" was a new song back in 1952, and the fact that it was given to Sauter and Finegan shows the confidence that A&R director Dave Kapp had that they could turn it into a hit. This may be the most popular S-F recording among average listeners, as the record got a lot of airplay as late as the '60s. The record is also the source of a story still told by veteran group singers. At the very end of the record, for effect, the singers individually whisper "Nina Never Knew" with overlapping entrances. Inadvertently, the final appearance of this phrase is whispered "Nina Never Heard." It is unclear who made this mistake, but up until these last few seconds, the recording is near perfect. After the tape recorder stopped, the room exploded in laughter and the offender was understandably embarrassed. Eddie and Bill saw no reason to remake the side, and the error stayed.

Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof

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  • 1 Flexner // Aug 12, 2008 at 08:07 PM
    It's a masterpiece. I had no idea it was Mooney or the solos were by Travis and Harris. Wasn't Burns the arranger? This gets better every time you listen to it.