August 29, 2008


I'm just now rereading Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize (two of 'em) winning novel, American Pastoral, for the second time. It's so, very good. The first third of the novel, entitled "Paradise Remembered," features Roth's alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, attending his forty-fifth high school reunion. As the reunion party winds down, Zuckerman dances the final slow dance with an at first unrecognizable women, who "remembers" herself to Zuckerman by telling him: "I had a pink angora sweater...You took me on a class hayride."

From page 84:

"Well, all this," I told her, as we stood there just swaying together to the one-man band closing the day down singing, "Dream...when you're feelin' blue,...dream...that's the thing to do"--"all this I did not know," I told her, "on the harvest moon hayride in October 1948."

Further down on p. 84:

...and first we were laughing and then, unexpectedly, Joy began to cry and, perhaps because of that damn song, "Dream," which we used to dance to with the lights turned down in somebody or other's basement back when the Pied Pipers still had Jo Stafford and used to sing it the way it's supposed to be sung--in locked harmony, to that catatonic forties beat (I love that - both the writing and the catatonic beat), with the ethereal tinkle of the xylophone hollowly sounding behind them--

....and thus was this post born.

From the Wikipedia entry

"Dream" – sometimes referred to as "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue)" – is a jazz and pop standard with words and music by Johnny Mercer in 1944 and performed by many artists. The most popular versions of the songs include those by The Pied Pipers, Frank Sinatra, and Roy Orbison.

For Capitol Records, The Pied Pipers, with lead singer June Hutton, made a version of "Dream" which became a major hit in 1945. The Pied Pipers would revive this ballad in the 1955 Fred Astaire-Leslie Caron musical film, Daddy Long Legs (the makers of the movie couldn't have possibly believed the "Slue-Foot" would become "nation's sensation"...).


Michael Suzich said...

Thanks for the post, Chris. I dig the many versions of "Dream", though for me, the definitive version is Dino's slumber-inducing take from the Sleep Warm LP. I believe Frank conducted this session. Now that I think of it, Sleep Warm is full of sleepy tunes! p.s. Best wishes and I hope you do well, with Gustav heading your way.

Chris said...

I've never heard Dino's version. I really need to get Sleep Warm!

Thanks for the concern. It's hard to know how it'll affect us in East Texas.