Roy Orbison – King Of Hearts

Roy Orbison - King Of HeartsWhere Mystery Girl succeeded in adding luster to Orbison’s posthumous legend, this album, despite a number of great songs, comes across as one too many trips to the well. Whether for the money or the publicity, this may have stretched it too far. The usually elegant production values associated with Jeff Lynne deteriorate to home demo standards with “I Drove All Night” and “Heartbreak Radio”, neither of which offers any glimpse of Lynne’s future skill in restoring deceased artists’ demo recordings. The best songs on King Of Hearts include “After The Love Has Gone”, “You’re The One” (featuring k.d. lang), and “We’ll Take The Night”, all of them as well-produced as anything from Mystery Girl. Perhaps better filler could have been found than another rendition of the previous 2 out of 4album’s “Careless Heart “which doesn’t differ enough from the original to merit much attention, though I welcomed the inclusion of an earlier duet recordimg of “Crying” with k.d. lang that had previously languished in the obscurity of the soundtrack of a Jon Cryer movie. I can recommend this album to dedicated followers of the late, great Roy Orbison, but honestly can’t advise casual listeners to seek it out.

Order this CD

  1. You’re The One (2:59)
  2. Heartbreak Radio (2:57)
  3. We’ll Take The Night (4:55)
  4. Crying with k.d. lang (3:48)
  5. After The Love Has Gone (4:38)
  6. Love In Time (5:31)
  7. I Drove All Night (3:46)
  8. Wild Hearts Run Out Of Time (3:32)
  9. Coming Home (4:00)
  10. Careless Heart original demo (5:15)

Released by: Virgin
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 41:21

Roy Orbison – In Dreams: The Greatest Hits

Roy Orbison - In Dreams: The Greatest HitsIn a move that may seem like sacrelige to purists, this entire album consists of recent re-recordings of Orbison’s classic hits, mixed and mastered nicely and in some cases arranged and produced more elaborately than they ever had a chance to be when they were first recorded. The genesis of the project was director David Lynch’s desire to use Orbison’s “In Dreams” in his movie Blue Velvet, and Lynch – later of Twin Peaks fame – wanted a better recording than the original, thus the new recording. With that session’s pleasing results, the rest of the album was recorded and we wind up with this very nice album. Oh, yeah, these are not the origial songs as played on the radio way 3 out of 4back when, but it is nice to hear them given this kind of treatment. The best thing about Orbison’s music – aside from his truly unique vocals – is that his songs flatly refused to be constricted to the traditional verse-chorus banality of most pop music, and so they’re always full of surprises even to the trained ear. I highly recommend this album to you, whether or not you’ve heard the original hits in question.

Order this CD

  1. Only The Lonely (2:25)
  2. Leah (2:43)
  3. In Dreams (2:51)
  4. Uptown (2:11)
  5. It’s Over (2:51)
  6. Crying (2:46)
  7. Dream Baby (2:46)
  8. Blue Angel (2:45)
  9. Working For The Man (2:43)
  10. Candy Man (2:57)
  11. Running Scared (2:10)
  12. Falling (2:22)
  13. I’m Hurtin’ (2:46)
  14. Claudette (2:34)
  15. Oh Pretty Woman (2:58)
  16. Mean Woman Blues (2:24)
  17. Ooby Dooby (2:22)
  18. Lana (2:48)
  19. Blue Bayou (2:51)

Released by: Virgin
Release date: 1987
Total running time: 50:13

Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl

Roy Orbison - Mystery GirlThis album attained a kind of notoriety by virtue of being released shortly after Orbison’s death in 1988. The great tragedy of it is that it represented one of the greatest potential comebacks in rock history. Orbison got back into public view through his membership in the Traveling Wilburys, all the while preparing for his own solo album featuring such guests as fellow Wilburys Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, U2’s Bono and Edge, and songs penned by Orbison’s son Wesley and Elvis Costello. On the whole, this is an exceptional album, and could have paved the way for a meteoric rebirth of Orbison’s career. Naturally I’m 4 out of 4partial toward those songs produced and co-written by Jeff Lynne, but they’re not necessarily the best music here. “The Only One”, Costello’s “The Comedians”, and “She’s A Mystery To Me” are outstanding examples of Orbison’s musical craft, easily on a par with or better than any of his earlier classics. If you haven’t already found the reason to mourn Orbison’s passing, listening to this album may well bring tears to your eyes.

Order this CD

  1. You Got It (3:27)
  2. In The Real World (3:40)
  3. (All I Can Do Is) Dream You (3:40)
  4. A Love So Beautiful (3:30)
  5. California Blue (3:55)
  6. She’s A Mystery To Me (4:16)
  7. The Comedians (3:22)
  8. The Only One (3:57)
  9. Windsurfer (4:02)
  10. Careless Heart (4:08)

Released by: Virgin
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 37:57