Frank D'Rone (vcl), Bill Russo (arr, cond), Billy May (arr), Benny Carter (cond), Conrad Gozzo, Joe Triscari, Don Fagerquist (tp), Milt Bernhart, Murray McEachern, Hoyt Bohanon (tb), Buddy Collette, Bud Shank (fl, as), Jules Jacob, Justin Gordon (ts), Chuck Gentry (bs), Dick Marx, Jimmy Rowles (p), Barney Kessel, Bobby Gibbons (g), Red Mitchell, Red Callender (b), Shelly Manne, Stan Levey (d)
Reference: FSR V201 CD
Bar code: 8427328642019
The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Male Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Frank D’Rone (1932-2013) was no doubt the best in the second generation of singers that were influenced by Frank Sinatra. To be clear, one Frank does not sound like the other: even though D’Rone sang in the general area clarified by Sinatra’s pioneering style, he was very much his own man, both in style and selection of material. He wasn’t trite, and never trusted wornout favorites to conquer an audience. The proof’s in the pudding as they say, with the excellent choice of tunes included in his debut album “Sings”. His articulation, feeling, understanding and delivery of lyrical meaning is first class, in any of the three different settings he chose for his first album.
Accompanied alternatively by a swinging band, a lush brass orchestra, or a small group, his vocal ability is equally at home in ballads and up-tunes. The result is pure D’Rone. Frank’s second album, “After the Ball”, is full of energy. Clean, cheerful, sometimes witty, and with the swinging arrangements of Billy May, and the orchestral direction of Benny Carter, Frank’s magnificent voice flows along, betraying his enjoyment in singing and swinging. It is no surprise that the first time Nat King Cole heard him, he exclaimed: “This guy is really something!”
***** RINGER OF THE WEEK *****
"Spain-based Fresh Sound Records has been looking under rocks and fallen trees for lost or forgotten vocal sessions by lost or forgotten vocalists. A while back we went through a bunch of female vocalists, now we’re rolling out the red carpet for a male vocalist that everyone is going to want to get into, namely Frank D’Rone.
Who? EXACTLY! Like many singers of his era (late 50s), D’Rone (1932-2013) was influenced by Frank Sinatra, but what comes out more is a hint of Jack Jones, a touch of Mark Murphy, and even better, Jackie Paris. The liner notes included a quote by Nat “King” Cole that states “This guy is really something!” And he was!
The first album from February, 1959 in Hollywood with a mix of septet and an orchestra arranged by Bill Russo. The small group included Bud Shank/as-fl, Barney Kessel/g, Jimmy Rowles/p, Rd Mitchell/b, and Shelly Manne/dr. Any questions? This setup includes a sublime “Everything Happens To Me” a hiply swinging “The Way You Look Tonight” and a suave “Joey, Joey Joey.” Russo’s charts call for a West Coast Cool “Yesterdays” and bluesy “Sophisticated Lady.” A hip band arranged by Dick Marx has a snappy “Love and the Weather” along with a sleek “I Could Write a Book.” Sign him up!
The album March of the same year in LA has an orchestra conducted by Benny Carter, with charts by no less than Billy May. The team is Basie Bold on “After The Ball” and both D’Rone and the band swaggers on “Oh! Look At Me Now!” The team gets Vegas lounge-ish for the cool “Let Me Love You” and D’Rone shows how to carry a torch on “We’ll Be Together Again” and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”
Who knows why this guy didn’t catch on, but it sure wasn’t for lack of talent. He even appeared on Johnny Carson a few times later in life. Don’t lose out on this one; he’s a winner!"
George W. Harris (July 18, 2019)
"Frank D’Rone is a name that rarely crops up, but it’s worth pointing out the high esteem in which he was regarded. The original sleeve notes to Frank D’Rone Sings were written by Nat King Cole, who first heard him at Dante’s Inferno club in Chicago and was evidently knocked out by what he heard. D’Rone stayed at Dante’s for 14 months and was the man to see, as witnessed by visitors that included fellow singers Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis, June Christy and Frank Sinatra, who requested he should appear in the lounge whenever Sinatra was in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
As well as this, when he was headlining the world famous Copacabana, Tony Bennett took over the microphone on opening night and told the audience, “A few years back, Nat ‘King’ Cole said that Frank D’Rone was the finest singer around. Tonight he has proved that Nat was right!” Now that Jordi Pujol has issued this CD on his Fresh Sounds label, we’re given the opportunity to hear what the fuss was all about.
A fine singer with an individual sound without being stylised, he has accurate pitch and good articulation, interprets lyrics sensitively and appropriately and holds a note well – noticeable on slower tracks like Yesterdays or Spring Is Here.
There is a good selection of material, mainly established standards but with a number of less familiar songs, and a variety of accompanying formats. The tracks on After The Ball, from 1960, have swinging orchestral arrangements by Billy May and Benny Carter, with a host of top session musicians, but it’s the sides from Sings (1959) that really have a jazz feel. Septet arrangements by Dick Marx, some orchestral by Bill Russo and five tracks with a quintet that features Bud Shank, one of which, Everything Happens To Me (no vocal album is complete without a Matt Dennis number), has some beautiful fill-ins by the altoist. Russo’s arrangements are interesting for their rich background texture created by five trombones.
Fans of what used to be referred to in the trade as “quality vocals” will find this to be right up their street!"
Matthew Wright (JUne 15, 2019)
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