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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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I will never forget waking up one early December day in 1988 and finding out that Roy Orbison had died suddenly and unexpectedly shortly after performing in concert the night before. I, along with a legion of long-time fans, grieved the loss of this incredible singer and performer. Initially, his death at that particular time in his career seemed terribly unfair. After stagnating during the 1970s and early 1980s, Orbison was back and perhaps even better than ever in 1988. His collaboration with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne in the form of The Traveling Wilburys had put him back in the national spotlight, and many of us longed for the new album soon to be released, an album we had heard nothing but incredibly good things about. Then, suddenly, he and the voice that touched our hearts for so many years, was gone. We, the fans, should have been rewarding Roy Orbison for all of the memories he gave us in song, yet, ever the selfless and humble man he was, Orbison actually presented all of us with a final, precious gift in the form of the album Mystery Girl. Roy’s widow Barbara deserves our heartfelt thanks for bravely putting the finishing touches on this album after her husband’s death.
Mystery Girl is simply an incredible album featuring a reenergized Roy Orbison easily uniting his unique voice to a modern sound that appealed to any number of ears; the released tracks from this album found ample playing time on both pop rock and country radio stations. Perhaps the first single, You Got It, got too much attention, as it was nearly played to death over the course of the first half of 1989, but that is just a tribute to the wonderful beauty and infectious beat and rhythm of this song co-written by Orbison and Wilbury buddies Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. The second track on the album, In the Real World, marks an abrupt change in tone; bringing to mind Roy’s classic song In Dreams; Orbison captures your heard on the first note and soars with it through the clouds that only he possessed the means of exploring. This haunting track is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. Roy decides to rock a little bit on (All I Can Do Is) Dream You before stopping to wax poetic and heartbreaking on the slow ballad A Love So Beautiful, a song featuring a little musical support from co-writer Jeff Lynne and George Harrison. California Blue (another Orbison-Lynne-Petty venture), The Only One, and Windsurfer are great songs in their own right, but special attention must be shown the remaining three tracks. Careless Heart is a beautiful song of love and loss that seems to convey a sense of the type of feelings we felt over the loss of this man taken much too soon from our midst. She’s a Mystery To Me, written by U2’s Bono and The Edge, presents Roy with a slightly different type of song that he easily makes his own, hitting the high notes perfectly on the choruses. Then there is The Comedians, a song written by Elvis Costello; this is vintage Roy Orbison, delivering a strikingly visual display of betrayal and loss, the very subjects Roy seemed to understand more than any other singer out there.
Mystery Girl is a very special album that Roy Orbison fans will treasure and play often for the rest of our lives. I wish Roy would have lived to see the incredible reception this album received from fans, but one can take comfort in the fact that Orbison left this world on top where he always belonged.
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on 13 February 2003
One of the greatest singers the world has ever seen, Roy Orbison has remained unmatched for the sheer delivery of his songs. Even Elvis Presley commented that Orbison was "the greatest singer in the world", possibly the ultimate compliment from a man who had himself achieved so much. However following Roy's early successes in the sixties his carerer began to fade, mostly due to tragedies surrounding his own life. Some thought him finished, some thought him dated, but most recognised his sheer brilliance.
This album, Mystery Girl, which would prove to be the last that he would release, (though his wife did release 'King of Hearts' some time after his death) firmly establishes Orbison as being one of the greatest influences in Rock and Roll history. From the inspirational "You Got It", to the incredibly moving "A love so Beautiful" and of course to the nearly impossible notes of "Shes a mystery to Me", this album shows that the voice that established Roy Orbison in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not only survived well into the 80's, but that his voice further developed and had reached levels of near perfection. Certainly nobody past or presnt could sing these songs like Roy Orbison. This album compliments, perfectly, Roys earlier recording in the 60's from his major hits of 'Crying', 'Its over', 'Running Scared', 'Only the lonely', and the vastly underrated 'In Dreams'. In comparison to his earlier work brought up to date as seen in 1987 in 'A black and White Night', it is clear that 'Mystery Girl' deserves to stand alongside the legendary Orbison of the 60's. This album has everything.
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on 18 March 2001
This was Roy's comeback album released in 1989. Roy had been a big hit in the 50's and 60's but had to wait until the late eighties for the music world to come back to him. Unfortunatly he died in 1988. Mystery Girl includes without a doubt some of the best tracks Roy recorded, including A love so beautiful and In the real world. The Comedians was written by Elvis Costello and like many of Roy's songs tells the story of lost love. The title track, She's a mystery to me was written by Bono of U2 and is perfectly suited to Roy's voice. Bruce Springsteen was a big fan of Roy Orbison and once commented on wanting to sing like him. Listening to Mystery Girl it is easy to see why.
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Ultimately, most people remember Roy Orbison for his sixties classics, but his renaissance in the eighties should not be overlooked. He re-recorded many of his old hits during a legal dispute that prevented his old classics being re-issued (at one time there was a threat to destroy them). Roy also teamed up with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty to form the Travelling Wilburys, a group that lasted for just one album. Finally, he recorded this solo album of original material. The album provides a great showcase for Roy's voice, appealing to Roy's traditional fans while gaining a new generation of fans who previously had shown little interest in his music.
The big hit from this album was, of course, You got it, a catchy up-tempo song that received plenty of airplay on radio stations across the world. It deserved all the success it got but there are other songs here that I regard as even better. While Roy was always good at up-tempo rocking songs (as he showed in the sixties with Oh pretty woman), he could do so much else. With classic ballads and mid-tempo songs such as California blue, She's a mystery to me, Careless heart, In the real world and A love so beautiful, this album maintains a high standard from start to finish.
Every Roy Orbison fan should own this album, which was his last and best album of original material. And if you're not already a Roy Orbison fan, this album may cause you to become one.
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on 27 May 2014
The original Mystery Girl is a stone cold classic and if you don't have a copy already, the re-issued deluxe edition should be high on your shopping list.

Classics such as "Careless Heart", "You got it", "She's a Mystery to Me" and "The Comedians" make this album stand up to repeat listenings and even the weakest track (Dream You) is very good.

I already have the 2007 re-issue of this album as well as the deluxe edition and it is 50/50 whether this upgrade is necessary.

The Deluxe edition with DVD comes in a slip-case with a high quality booklet.

The DVD contains an interesting documentary about the album and new tracks as well as videos for a number of songs (either new or from the era)

The much publicised new track "The Way Is Love" is a demo with new music placed over the top. Its obviously a personal track for Orbison's sons, however the quality of the tape used to record the vocals is nowhere near as good as the modern equipment used on the backing instruments. You may find the difference jarring. That said, it is a good track, the arrangement fits the song and I am glad they included it.

The studio demo's of the songs featured on the original album are fascinating and the other unreleased track "You are My Love" is really nice.

I have a couple of minor issues with this set (which doesn't impact my rating).
It would have been nice to include the original version of "the way love is" (before the new instruments were added).
The 2007 CD included a track called "You may Feel Me Crying" which was as good as anything as released on the album proper. This track has been omitted from the 2014 re-issue. Its available elsewhere (e.g. the soul of rock and roll) but its a real shame they excluded it.
The CD is mastered significantly louder than the previous version and while the sound is not bad, I am not sure it was necessary.
I think they should have kept the original album cover and I would have have preferred the studio demo's on a separate CD

If you don't have this album, then the 2014 deluxe edition is recommended.
If you have a previous issue of this album and can live without "You may feel me crying" the 2014 version is well worth checking out.
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on 13 March 2007
Mystery Girl is Roy Orbison's best album barring his many 'Best of' compilations. This is an album from the heart, and Time didn't allow him to savour this success as it took his life so abruptly. I remeber Q magazine giving this album 3 stars out of 5. How inappropriate- I wonder what the rating would be now because some of the tracks are so good like;

She's a Mystery to Me with Bono's guitar intro - Brilliant

The Only One - an abscure track that deserved far more recognition

You Got It - The track that made this album famous

A Love SO Beautiful - Better than many over commercialized slows like 'Lady in Red' sung with such intensity, you feel teleported to such a situation.

Windsurfer - I wonder how this would sound witha Beach Boys background - absolutely perfect.

This album is the best tribute to a great singer - Fitting !!!
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on 13 May 2006
everything all the other reviewers say is true - this is just one truly GREAT album.

i won't repeat their praise, except to single out a couple of highlights. "windsurfer" is an awesome song, and an awesome vocal performance. so too is "a love so beautiful", a positively operatic experience. and "the comedians" is one of elvis costello's best (and least known) compositions - wonderful structure, great lyrics. the big O is on undiminished top form throughout.

i won't waste any more of your time - for your own good, just buy this CD. it is (i'm not joking) one of the very finest albums ever made by a rock singer.
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on 14 October 2000
There is not a poor track on this album, and it contains some real gems which give a fitting memorial to Roy's unique voice. "A love so beautiful" makes the hairs on your neck stand on end and comedians is a song only he could have done. If you liked Roy Orbison in the 60's you will love this album.
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on 12 September 2014
One of the best albuns ever recorded (well, in my top 5 anyway), this is a more than deserved tribute the a record that should be, as books are, compulsery in anyone's education!
Need I say more?
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 April 2013
After Roy died and the single "You Got It" was released I remember willing this to get to No.1. In the end it made No.3. in the UK and No.9 in the US and was Roy's first big transatlantic hit since "Oh Pretty Woman". So the success of "You Got It" after all those years tells you what you need to know about this album, which was itself top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic. "She's A Mystery To Me" was the second single written by Bono and is wonderfully performed. But check out "The Comedians", a track which harks back to the classic "Running Scared". Other like "California Blue" stand-up well against his 60's best.

Twenty five years after the original album release we have the deluxe edition. Much has been made made of the re-discovered song "The Way Is Love" in the lead up to he release and how it has been brought up to scratch. The originally recording was quite informal and personal meant for Roy's wife Barbara. However the enhancement really isn't as good as it has been made about to be. The source recording just wasn't done properly enough to get this to a full commercial quality release standard. As a song to enjoy as a bonus track it's on the celebratory re-release that is the deluxe edition then its OK.

What I enjoyed most about the deluxe edition was the DVD which highlighted the making of the album, peppered with personal anecdotes from those involved. It was also nice to see Roy's surviving sons Wesley, Roy Jnr and Alex, take up the mantel of keeping Roy's legacy alive with Barbara now also gone.
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