Frank D’Rone was one of many singers after a piece of the Sinatra pie, and the suave, debonair fellow on the cover certainly had the promising look of the next big crooner. However, although D’Rone is a fine singer, he lacks that elusive quality that allows one to jump the gap between an interpreter and an artist. To be fair, D’Rone would probably be satisfied with this assessment, and pleased to note that he turned out as pleasant an album as he did.
1960's After the Ball has two elements working tremendously in D’Rone’s favor. First, Billy May’s orchestrations contain the same usual bright punch and peaceful swing of his sessions with Ella and Nat. May can make any artist seem like a star, and his charts work like a great dancing partner to D’Rone’s delivery, highlighting his strengths while hiding his occasional stumbles. Second, the concept works remarkably well, giving the album a unity and logic missing from other albums that are no more than a collection of pop tunes. Starting with “After the Ball,” the songs follow the progression of two lovers sharing an evening together, from “Warm All Over,” through “Two Sleepy People” and “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever”, and finishing with “We’ll Be Together Again”. Along the way are some true gems from Arlen, Porter, Loesser, and other greats from the American songbook.
D’Rone’s voice has an earnest youthfulness reminiscent of Bobby Darin that suggests that in between the songs, nothing indiscreet happened that would be unsuitable subject matter for a record, and the collection defines itself as a pleasant, albeit shallow, collection of pop singing that while not a masterpiece, has a certain degree of naïve charm. Featuring bouncy fox-trots and dreamy ballads in equal measures, After the Ball is a fine record and a satisfactory alternative to other better known and more talented singers.