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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2011
I enjoyed hearing this collection of Roy Orbison's songs from 1959 to 1965. They are presented in chronological order by recording date, but some are treated as bonus tracks although they would have fitted into the sequence. I was a bit puzzled that there are 20 'A' sides to 19 'B' sides, but discovered from the booklet that 'Distant drums' served as the 'B' side to 'Falling' and to 'Let the good times roll'. The mono recording sounds very good and is probably sharper and clearer than when the records were first released. The DVD is of good quality despite being derived from a TV broadcast of 1965. Roy Orbison stands remarkably still and composed before his small band. His voice is exposed due to the lack of strings but comes across movingly in 'Running scared' and other songs. The package includes good photographs and memorabilia. I think that it is a fine tribute to a great singer.
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"Roy Orbison singing for the lonely/ Hey that's me and I want you only/Don't turn me home again I just can't face myself alone again" wasn't so much a lyric by Bruce Springsteen on Thunder Road but a mark of recognition and respect for the man's art. Springsteen like many other prodigious performers knew that Roy Orbison was not only the greatest balladeer ever, but a master songwriter whose influence transcended the generations. Orbison almost despite himself was cool and subtly dangerous, while at the same time bringing to rock n roll an almost operatic dimension which was his unique trademark (perhaps only Scott Walker comes close). Thus whilst its easy to dwell on the scale of desperate family heartbreak he endured it has been argued that he was "pop's greatest tragedian long before his life caught up with his art".

I fully respect the Amazon review of Denis Reed whose huge knowledge of Orbison is beyond question. He points to a number of troubling vagaries in sequencing and chronological ordering on this Monument singles collection of Orbison's unbelievable purple patch between 1960 and 1964. But as someone who is ashamed to admit that he doesn't already own all these songs (particularly the excellent B sides) this compilation is veritable "manna from heaven". It is especially so since the songs are presented here with a great remaster of the original mono songs and thus with significantly more authentic productions than the stereo takes, with the emphasis firmly on Orbison's searing and lovelorn voice. Similarly the Monument Concert (1965) on DVD sees the man at the peak of his powers in a tremendous (if rather grainy) performance for the Dutch television program Combo with a great version of "What i'd say.

As for the music what can you add that has already not been stated? Take for example one of his greatest songs "In dreams" which is often now viewed in hindsight of its eerie and sinister part in David Lynch film Blue Velvet (which Orbison hated). Set this episode to one side and lets recognise that the song is almost unique in the annals of top ten music in that there are no conventional "verse-chorus" structures just a rising crescendo, which builds to an epic climax with the Orbison's voice emitting emotion and pain. Equally you can see why a young Springsteen was fixated with Orbison when you listen to "Running scared" which predates his own lyrical preoccupations on Born to Run. All the other great hits are here including "Only the lonely", "Its over", "Blue Angel" and of course "Pretty Woman" (although I miss the Springsteen and James Burton guitar dual from Black and White Night). Similarly there are the great and unsurpassed ultra ballads "Crying" and the stunning "Blue Bayou" which he later reprised with on a duet with Canadian chanteuse K. D. Lang whose equally operatic voice was the perfect foil.

As for the B Sides the exotic "Leah" has a huge vocal and sounds great, "Love hurts" is up there with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris version, "Summer song" is a great anthem for lost love and how "Distant Drums" was a b side is a mystery. Ultimately if what you desire is a fine collection of Roy Orbison's greatest hits remastered and gathered in one place then this collection (despite its faults) is a fine starting point. In the last analysis this heavenly music that fully deserves in the words of Noel Gallagher to "live forever".
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on 4 May 2011
This is a peculiar one.It claims to be the Monument singles yet it contains an alternate take of 'It's Over'-not the single release-and another of '(Say)You're My Girl'-the one here omits the spoken intro that was on the single.

The chronology of the disc is also bizarre-why is 'Paper Boy' a 'bonus track' and not in its' correct chronological position on the album? Additionally,'Lana',recorded in 1961,sits bizarrely between 'Running Scared' and 'Cryin' yet it was not issued on a single until 1966-it was an album track in 1962.Similarly,'Let The Good Times Roll'is placed between 'Cryin' and 'Blue Bayou'-despite not appearing on a single until 1966.(Say)You're my girl'-even in its' alternate state-is only a 'bonus' track.

The result is a bit of a mess and doesn't do justice to the great voice and music of Roy Orbison.Instead of simply presenting the Monument singles in order of their release-and using the released versions-it fails on both counts.

I was looking forward to this release and i was very disappointed by it.Great music of course.But sloppily put together.
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on 29 December 2014
I have been a massive fan of 'The Big O' the late great Roy Orbison since a child, my parents played that white greatest hits album every week and I was spellbound by his power his passion and his stage image. So when I saw they had this deluxe collection out I had to order it and it is 100% worth it for the DVD alone. Comparing today how we react in a live concert to back then is so interesting and how Roy stood there, hardly opening his mouth yet pure power, energy and emotion came out at such strength. so being a 2 CD + DVD collection should mention the CDs, now CD1 is the 'A' sides and some are obviously not as well known classics but a real great collection together CD2 is the 'B' sides and I was shocked to see some classics that should of been an 'A' hit. Since I brought this friends and family who have seen it have also gone and brought their own copy and it is just a MUST for all fans of Roy Orbison
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on 19 June 2011
Even though the recordings are from the 60s Roys voice is unique. This is a great collection and whilst some of the 2nd discs tracks are not so well known - it is nonetheless a really good buy. The DVD, whilst short, is a good B&W visual record of Roy at his best.
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on 12 May 2011
I love this! I am a relatively new fan of Roy Orbison. I love the music, obviously, but also love packaging, booklet and also the DVD. Money well spent!
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on 11 June 2011
The product was exactly as described and the speed of delivery was super. I can recommend this CD for any Roy Orbison fan. I bet you'll know all of the words on the A sides if not the B sides.
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on 11 February 2015
While I ap[p[reciate the original mono mixes presented here, there are faults. Apart from the missing intro to Say You're My Girl' which is simply unforgivable, something that nobody has mentioned is that "Blue Angel" at 2:40 is mastered 8 seconds TOO FAST! Sloppy work! How can this happen??
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on 21 February 2015
Wonderful as usual
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on 31 October 2012
A must for all Roy Orbison fans. There are tracks on this cd which I have not found on other cd's However I did find the dvd a bit dissapointing
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