Wednesday, June 13, 2007
"Dirty world, a dirty world, it's a f*****g dirty world..."
Rhino Records has just released the entire Travelling Wilburys collection. This set contains both of the TW's CDs as well as a DVD which includes a documentary about the making of the first album as well as all the promotional videos (As seen on MTV). What a strange supergroup this was---A Beatle , a 60s legend who wasn't selling many records anymore, The Voice Of A Generation,, and an amiable Florida rocker who rose to fame during the "new wave" era of the late 70s with hits like "American Girl" and "Breakdown" and the guy from ELO.
Starring Nelson Wilbury as George Harrison, Lucky Wilbury as Bob Dylan, Lefty Wilbury as Roy Orbison, Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. as Tom Petty, and Otis Wilbury as Jeff Lynne.
How in the heck did THIS happen? Well, apparently by happy accident. Harrison invites Petty to head up to Dylan's house in LA one night. They go pick up some guitars from Jeff Lynne's place, and Jeff tags along as well. By the end of the evening, the idea for the band came about, and Dylan and Roy Orbison were on board as well... Petty tells a story of he and George Harrison speeding down Ventura Boulevard giddy like kids looking at each other and saying "Can you BELIEVE it? ROY ORBISON's in our band!!!"
Due to Dylan having to tour, time was of the essence. They got together at Dave Stewart's LA House, wrote, and recorded all the songs there. Jeff Lynne says that from the first rehearsal to the finishing touches of production took six weeks. And what an album it was! And all it was was a bunch of friends getting together to make music and have fun. You can feel it when you listen. Dylan's contributions are great---a hilarious Springsteen knock-off called "Tweeter And The Monkey Man" and "Congratulations", a midtempo ballad which uses group vocals on the choruses, as does most of the album. He takes a playful vocal turn on "Dirty World", another great moment of the disc. The highlight of this song is the Wilburys trading nonsense lyrics culled from a stack of magazines in the studio. Throughout the disc you get beautiful guitar fills from George, and those ethereal Roy Orbison vocals, who went out of this world with a rekindled career and a new generation of fans---this CD, a guest-star filled HBO special and album called "Black & White Night", and his "Mystery Girl" CD were released shortly before his death of a massive heart attack. Twelve years later, we would lose George Harrison to cancer. In retrospect, my favorite Beatle. On a side note, I think that Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" is the best of all the Beatles post fab-four careers.
But I digress...After Orbison's death, the Wilburys skipped Volume 2 and went straight on to Volume 3. This doesn't have Orbison or the same magic, but the more I listen to it, the better I like it. This time around, they changed their names, too. Spike Wilbury/George Harrison, Boo Wilbury/Bob Dylan, Muddy Wilbury/Tom Petty and Clayton Wilbury/ Jeff Lynne.
Both Volume 1 and Volume 3 contain a couple of unreleased tracks, polished for this release by adding overdubs by one Ayrton Wilbury, aka George's son Dhani Harrison.
The sound is crisp, the memories are sweet, and both CDs have long been out of print. A must for any fan. The Rhino site charges too much---Try Amazon.