Essential Roy Orbison - (Import CD)

Roy Orbison

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  1. Performer
  2. Oldies
  3. Rock 'N' Roll
Mono / Stereo
Jeff Lynne; Sam Phillips; Fred Foster; Bono; Mike Campbell; T-Bone Burnett; Chips Moman; David Paul Briggs; Wesley Rose; Jim Vienneau
The Essential Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison has been in such need of a comprehensive, career-spanning compilation like Legacy's 2006 double-disc The Essential Roy Orbison that it's especially frustrating that it falls short of the mark. Not counting Bear Family's exhaustive 2001 set, which gathered everything Roy recorded between 1955 and 1965, including alternate takes, it is the first multi-disc Orbison compilation since 1988's four-disc box The Legendary Roy Orbison, which was released in the midst of his remarkable comeback that peaked the following year with the posthumous comeback Mystery Girl, which arrived too late to be part of Legendary. So, Orbison's catalog truly was missing a set that spanned from "Ooby Dooby," his first hit for Sun in 1956, all the way to his last charting single, 1992's "I Drove All Night." Essential attempts to do that, touching on every phase of his career -- the early rockabilly for Sun in the '50s, his cinematic hits for Monument in the early '60s, the cult classics for MGM in the late '60s, his '80s comeback -- over the course of 40 tracks. It gets a lot right, particularly on the first disc, which has most of the big hits from "Ooby Dooby" to 1964's "Oh, Pretty Woman," all presented in chronological order. Where things start to go wrong is on the second disc, where the comp suddenly abandons all pretense at chronological order, opening up with four cuts from Mystery Girl (including the hits "You Got It" and "She's a Mystery to Me"), before doubling back to the '60s for five MGM singles -- "Ride Away," "Crawling Back," "Best Friend," "Communication Breakdown," and "Walk On" -- then proceeding to the '80s, first with the Emmylou Harris duet "That Lovin' You Feeling Again" from the Roadie soundtrack, and then with re-recordings of "Running Scared" and "In Dreams," two '60s masterworks that are only available here in these solid but inferior remakes. The jumbled chronology results in a bit of a disconcerting listen, since the production styles don't comfortably sit together, but that would be easier to forgive if "Running Scared" and "In Dreams" were present in their original versions; without them, Essential isn't quite the concise, comprehensive collection it aspires to be. It's a major flaw, but not necessarily a fatal one, since the remainder of the set does offer his biggest hits -- "Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel)," "Candy Man," "Crying," "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)," "Leah," "Blue Bayou," "It's Over," and "Pretty Paper" among them -- plus a good sampling of his lesser-known work, all in good fidelity. But it comes so close to being truly definitive that the few flaws in selection and sequence stand out all the more. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Country of Origin
BMG (distributor)
Roy Orbison
Songs / Tracks
  1. [ Disc 01 Track 01 ] Ooby Dooby
  2. [ Disc 01 Track 02 ] Go! Go! Go!
  3. [ Disc 01 Track 03 ] Rock House
  4. [ Disc 01 Track 04 ] Uptown
  5. [ Disc 01 Track 05 ] Only the Lonely
  6. [ Disc 01 Track 06 ] Blue Angel
  7. [ Disc 01 Track 07 ] I'm Hurtin'
  8. [ Disc 01 Track 08 ] Lana
  9. [ Disc 01 Track 09 ] Love Hurts
  10. [ Disc 01 Track 10 ] Crying
  11. [ Disc 01 Track 11 ] Candy Man
  12. [ Disc 01 Track 12 ] Dream Baby
  13. [ Disc 01 Track 13 ] Crowd, The
  14. [ Disc 01 Track 14 ] Leah
  15. [ Disc 01 Track 15 ] Working For the Man
  16. [ Disc 01 Track 16 ] Falling
  17. [ Disc 01 Track 17 ] Mean Woman Blues
  18. [ Disc 01 Track 18 ] Blue Bayou
  19. [ Disc 01 Track 19 ] Pretty Paper
  20. [ Disc 01 Track 20 ] It's Over
  21. [ Disc 01 Track 21 ] Oh, Pretty Woman
  22. [ Disc 02 Track 01 ] You Got It
  23. [ Disc 02 Track 02 ] She's a Mystery to Me
  24. [ Disc 02 Track 03 ] California Blue
  25. [ Disc 02 Track 04 ] Only One, The
  26. [ Disc 02 Track 05 ] Ride Away
  27. [ Disc 02 Track 06 ] Crawling Back
  28. [ Disc 02 Track 07 ] Best Friends
  29. [ Disc 02 Track 08 ] Communication Breakdown
  30. [ Disc 02 Track 09 ] Walk On
  31. [ Disc 02 Track 10 ] That Lovin' You Feelin' Again - (featuring Emmylou Harris)
  32. [ Disc 02 Track 11 ] Running Scared
  33. [ Disc 02 Track 12 ] In Dreams
  34. [ Disc 02 Track 13 ] Love So Beautiful, A
  35. [ Disc 02 Track 14 ] Comedians, The - (live)
  36. [ Disc 02 Track 15 ] Claudette - (live)
  37. [ Disc 02 Track 16 ] I Drove All Night
  38. [ Disc 02 Track 17 ] Wild Hearts Run Out of Time
  39. [ Disc 02 Track 18 ] Coming Home
  40. [ Disc 02 Track 19 ] Life Fades Away
  1. Roy Orbison
Studio / Live

Dirty Linen (pp.87-88) - "[The release] captures two CDs' worth of some of his best music ever....[Orbison] still inspires awe..."
No Depression (pp.90-91) - "[With] that voice, all west Texas pinched and nasal, a tenor with a tone -- a texture, really -- that feels lonely and elegant, sobbing yet stoic, and like no one else's we've ever heard."

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