When singer/guitarist Frank D'Rone passed away in 2013 at age 81, his obituary in the Chicago Tribune noted that on the day that he gave his last concert, he "didn't know whether he should go to the emergency room or the concert hall." Such was indeed D'Rone's devotion to music. Born in Massachusetts in 1932 but raised in Rhode Island, D'Rone developed an early interest in the guitar, and by the 1950s, he was making a name for himself in jazz clubs around Chicago, both as a singer and as a guitarist. Nat King Cole was particularly impressed by D'Rone's musicianship, to such an extent that he took the younger singer under his wing and helped him get a record contract with Mercury.
"My Old Flame" as an instrumental, without the participation of Laine, who felt that this "was more of a girl's song." If the album lives up to its title, it is both because of the fantastic contributions from all these great jazzmen and because of Laine's sprightly vocals, which prove that he is perfectly at ease in this small-group context. Though there is not a single forgettable song here, high points of the set are "You Can Depend on Me," "That Old Feeling," "Stars Fell on Alabama," and "Baby, Baby All the Time." The 1999 Columbia/Legacy reissue is splendid and includes new liner notes, photos, personnel information, and a bonus track from the sessions—an instrumental version of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to." As in Patti Page's case, it is really a pity that Frankie Laine did not make more records in this mold.
"Love for Sale" and "No Moon at All" are undoubtedly among the highlights of a remarkable album that should have marked the beginning of a long, successful career for a vocalist that, in the words of critic Nat Hentoff, was "a fine-grained, intelligent, and sensitive (without a capital S) singer."
|Pianist Gil Evans provided some sensitive arrangements for Lucy Reed's second album|