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Friday, February 18, 2022

The Fabulous Arrangements Of Tommy Dorsey - Warren Covington


Satan Takes A Holiday

The Fabulous Arrangement Of Tommy Dorsey
Featuring The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Starring Warren Covington
Decca Records DL 78802

From the back cover: In this album are sounds that are as crisp and fresh as tomorrow. They do carry the unmistakable touch of Tommy Dorsey, for this is Tommy's gang and his arrangements. Actually you'll find the great arrangements of Tommy Dorsey, which made him one of the most important figures and personalities in the "Swing Band" era. You can't mention "Song Of India," "Opus One" or "Boogie Woogie" without thinking of Tee Dee. Play them now from this Decca hi-fi album and the Dorsey touch is there as played by Warren Covington, the new leader of the Dorsey group.

The first album (and yes, there will be many more) of the Dorsey band featuring the Covington lad will take you back to the great hey day of the dance bands. But as you will see with one touch of the needle, here is a new driving force for the Dorsey type of music. Something's been added to Tommy's music and you might say it was being brought up to date. This is typically Dorsey and typically Covington. One fog shrouded night, Tommy and this writer made a dashing trip from Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa, to Chicago to keep a golf date. All the way in, Tommy fiddled with the radio, listening to everything he could pull in. In between times he asked what people requested and what we played on the air. Next time I saw the Dorsey band, some of the ideas had been incorporated in new arrangements by Bill Finegan. When Tee Dee joined the trombone section "up there" the Dorsey band put away their horns and to most folks the Tee Day days were over. However, master showman Willard Alexander and the Dorsey estate (headed by Tommy charming wife) put the band back on the stand and "success" was the key word. To handle the job as front man they chose (and wisely, I might add) Warren Covington, a singer, musician, diplomat and entertainer... that was the crowning touch.

Warren Covington is no stranger to our business. I met him first in the "bone" section of Horace Heidt's Musical Knights. Warren went into the Coast Guard in World War Two and was featured in "Tars And Spars" (if you saw the production you can't forget him singing "Arm And Arm"), and following the service with Les Brown, Gene Krupa and then back with old bossman Mitch Ayres where he made his debut, "Covid," as we call him, became a "studio musician" and played the top TV shows and was sounded out by Decca to lead "The Commanders" (if you like this album try some of the Commanders' albums and singles on Decca). 

This crew-cut leader is an expert arranger, a musician, singer and band leader. To prove every point of that statement, spin "My Baby Just Cares For Me" which sounds like it was written for "Covid," and when you end your session with this album play the theme... you can't tell the difference between Tommy and Warren even if you play the wax side-by-side. Both "Cov" and Tommy started on the trumpet and then went to trombone, and actually Warren met his idol only once. He convinced impresario Frank Dailey to introduce him to Tommy one night at the Terrace Room and Tommy did most of the talking... Warren couldn't think of anything to say. Today it's like a dream to "Cover" when he fronts Tommy's great band. But I'd like to point out in conclusion the this fresh and moving sound isn't just created for these records... no sir! To me this is the most energetic, crowd-pleasing band in the business today. It's also a band that lives, eats and breathes music both on the bandstand and in the big grey monster that carries them from coast to coast. If you came to listen to the last strains of the Dorsey music... this is the wrong album. The Dorsey band, under the direction of Warren Covington, is here to stay. Here with the fresh new approach of the music world of today... Just as Tommy would have done. – Ray Starr

From Billboard - November 24, 1958: A sparkling set of stereo reminiscences of the late T.D. performed by the new Tommy Dorsey band. The arrangements of "Song Of India," "Hawaiian War Chant," "Swanee River," etc., are faithful and the band does them full justice. An excellent stereo recording job increases salability and the crew's recent hit single, "Tea For Two Cha Cha," will tend to promote the album. Solid merchandise.

Song Of India 
Hawaiian War Chant
My Baby Just Cares For Me
Easy Does It
Opus One
Boogie Woogie
Satan Takes A Holiday
Swingin' On Nothin'
Swanee River
The Dipsy Doodle
I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

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