These albums were originally issued during Orbison's wilderness years, a period in which his record sales collapsed and his personal life was scarred by tragedy. This decline is widely attributed to a decline in the quality of Orbison's output, this collection corrects this misconception.
"Cry Softly Lonely One", opens with the beautiful ballad, "She", in which Orbison's shimmering and soaring vibrato recalls his late wife, who had died the previous year. The poignant lyrics and lush delivery combine to produce an emotional performance comparable to anything recorded during the Monument years. "Communication Breakdown", deals with a tormented relationship stricken by the materialistic demands of modern life. The title track bears a striking resemblance to "Only the Lonely", with Orbison's gorgeous falsetto complimented by angelic background vocals. These attributes and the simplicity of the arrangements may be somewhat anachronistic, but the affect is stunning. "Only Alive", depicts a man hopelessly enchanted by a former lover and condemned to a lonely life without the attention of his obsession. Next to these sublime ballads, the album contains a number of up-tempo numbers, which demonstrate Orbison's versatility. "Girl like Mine", is a jaunty rocker complete with Hammond organ and building female backing chorus. The song oozes cool and should have been issued as a single. "That's a No No", is a woefully sexiest little ditty, in which Orbison instructs his female possession how to behave. While we will not share Orbison's sentiments, the song rates highly as an example of sheer 1960s male cheek. Overall, this is probably Orbison's finest album of the entire decade, capturing him at the peak of his vocal powers. It may have been a commercial flop, but it remains a stunning artistic representation of pop's foremost beat balladeer.
"The Classic Roy Orbison" is a more erratic collection that perhaps reflects the crisis in Orbison's career. Amongst the choice tracks is "City Life", a vigorous rocker that includes some of Orbison's finest lyrics; the surreal "Pantomime", which displays shades of hedonistic revelry and the atmospheric "Wait" that conveys the frustration of an illicit affair. On the negative side is the unintentionally comedic "Twinkle Toes". How this dire tale of the tribulations of a Go - Go Dancer was deemed worthy of a single release is mystery beyond the wit of Miss Marple. "Never Love Again", is a beautiful ballad that Orbison would normally sing to perfection, however, his nasal delivery means this constitutes one of the worst vocal performances of his entire career. Of the remaining tracks, the multi layered "Growing Up" and the falsetto rich "Where Is Tomorrow" are the most satisfying. Generally, "The Classic Roy Orbison" is a mixed bag that veers from brilliance to banality.
on 10 July 2007
I am so pleased with these releases, as for years it was virtually impossible to get hold of the MGM recordings he made from 1965-1973.
I used to pay big money to buy the original vinyl just to hear these amazing recordings. I finally managed to locate at least one copy of all of the albums featured on these new releases, I will not part with my vinyl but its great to have the proper re-mastered CD's rather than just the old records.
Roy Orbisons recordings from this period were easily as good as anything he had recorded previously for Monument. They were generally not as well received at the time by the buying public, but this was more a sign of the ever fast changing times and music scene as opposed to a drop in quality from Roy. However Roys private life made the headlines quite a lot during the mid to late 60's primarily due to the very tragic accident that caused the death of his ex-wife Claudette in 1966 and the dreadful house fire in which two of his sons died whilst he was on tour in England in 1968. These two albums featured on this CD are from around the times of the two incidents mentioned. The first was issued just before Claudettes accident, it was his third for MGM, I used to love this LP so much but now I think he did make better records at MGM. The stand out song are "Losing you" "Where is tomorrow", "Pantomime", "You'll never be 16 again" and "Going back to gloria". The album included some single B-Sides and it shows a slight drop in standard. I agree with the previous reviewer in that Roy's vocal on "Never love again" is strangely not on form. But overall it still class Roy Orbison as its name suggests. I love the LP cover too. MGM records seemed to suffer from a rather harsh "tin-can" style sound on the vocals when Roy joined them, I personally didnt like the sound qaulity. they seemed to get it right by the end of the decade but this LP suffers from that harsh sound.
The next LP on here is the beautiful "Cry Softly Lonely One" from 1968. It was primarily made up of some new recordings but largely left overs from 66 and 67. So baring that in mind it really is amazing. One of my favorite Roy albums, it is filled with awesome Orbison, at his very very best.
"She", "Memories", "It takes one to know one", and the title track all stand out. Even a left over from the Don Gibson LP "Just one time" is thrown in on the UK release of the album for good measure. Again a great LP cover too, lost a little on the small CD cover. I have a passion for classic cars as did Roy, and I love the image of Roy and those vintage cars of yesteryear. Cant go wrong with this CD.
on 3 September 2010
I'm very much a late 50s, early 60s fan as this era saw me in my mid/lateteens which most people would say is the most enjoyable of their lives. I'm principally an Elvis fan but if Elvis was the complete package the Big O was the unique package - in appearance, in operatic voice and in song composition. This value-for-money double album from 1966 and 1968- particularly the later 'Cry Softly Lonely One' harks back 8 or 10 years and is perhaps why
Roy was not so successful in this period as the youth world had then moved on.For a fan like me the beat ballads
and slow romantic songs are as good as or better than those in Roy's early years. Just let me make believe'has a unique (guitar)backing which complemets the powerful ballad of the kind with which Roy made his name, but there are several other tracks on this album that are 'up there'.'Here comes the rain baby 'is a very slow ballad that showcases Roys gentle side whilst at least a couple of other tracks are up-tempos reminiscent of his biggest hit 'Pretty Woman'.
For those who, like me, enjoy this time, these albums are a must. For others, they are perfect examples of a voice that was sadly overlooked and should be revisited -the quality of songs and delivery are no less than his biggest hits.Buy!