Monday, 16 May 2016

"Roy Orbison Sings Lonely And Blue" by ROY ORBISON (2006 Monument/Legacy 'Extended' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Only The Lonely Know How I Feel Tonight..."

Helmsman for The Everly Brothers (one of the best vocal harmony groups ever) and a prolific songwriter himself – Boudleaux Bryant is not surprisingly genuinely enamoured with the golden larynx of Roy Orbison – bigging-up the 'O' in his liner notes adorning the rear sleeve (Roy covers their Cadence 50ts hit "Bye Bye Love" on this LP). But if you look close enough at the repro of that cover art on the last leaf of the 8-page booklet – you will notice the very stuff of Audio Legend. 

The original December 1960 LP had a dedicated box on the right side given over 'Technical Data' – almost as if it was a matter of pride. Listed are microphones (Telefunken and U&M) and types of tape machines (Ampex Two and Three-track Stereo). And one minute into this gorgeous VIC ANESINI remaster of Roy Orbison's classy December 1960 debut album – you understand instantly why collectors have frothed at the gills over clean copies of the Monument Records original vinyl - especially in 'Living Stereo'. This record sounds awesome - as well as fronting three genuine monsters of early 60ts Pop – "Only The Lonely", "Blue Angel" and "I'm Hurtin'". Let's look under those tinted shades... 

UK and Europe released October 2006 (reissued May 2010 in the USA) – "Roy Orbison Sings Lonely And Blue" by ROY ORBISON on Monument/Legacy/Sony BMG 82876 85572 2 (Barcode 828768557228) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster and plays out as follows (40:55 minutes):

1. Only The Lonely
2. Bye Bye Love
3. Cry
4. Blue Avenue
5. I Can't Stop Loving You
6. Come Back To Me (My Love)
7. Blue Angel [Side 2]
8. Raindrops
9. (I'd Be) A Legend In My Time
10. I'm Hurtin'
11. Twenty-Two Days 
12. I'll Say It's My Fault
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut album "Roy Orbison Sings Lonely And Blue" - released December 1960 in the USA on Monument M 4002 (Mono) and Monument SM 14002 (Stereo) and June 1961 in the UK on London HA-U 2342 (Mono only). Produced by FRED FOSTER – the STEREO Mix is used for the CD. 

13. Uptown
14. Pretty One
Tracks 13 and 14 are the non-album A&B-sides of a November 1959 USA 7" single on Monument MO 412

15. Here Comes That Song Again
Track 15 is the non-album B-side to the 7" single for "Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)" released June 1960 in the USA on Monument MO 421. It was also the B-side to the single for "Only The Lonely..." in the UK on London HLU 9149 - also released June 1960 (his debut British 45). 

16. Today's Teardrops 
Track 16 is the non-album B-side to the 7" single for "Blue Angel" released October 1960 in the USA on Monument MO 425 and in the UK on London HLU 9207. It's a Gene Pitney cover version. 

GUITARS – Harold Bradley, Hank Garland and Grady martin
STEEL GUITAR – Jerry Byrd 
SAXOPHONE – Boots Randolph 
PIANO – Floyd Cramer and Martin Hughes
BASS – Bob Moore
DRUMS Buddy Harman 
VIOLA - Howard Carpenter 
VIOLINS – Brenton banks, George Binkley III, Aileen Fentress, Solie Fott, Lillian Hunt, Jane Norris, Vernal Richardson and Wilda Tinsley
BACKING VOCALS – Joe Melson and The Anita Kerr Singers 

Although it has a sepia photo of Roy discussing music with Producer Fred Foster and two other page-sized period photos – apart from the repro of Boudleaux Bryant’s liner notes – there is naught else by way of history or discussion (more’s the pity). It’s pretty to look at admittedly but such a shame Sony didn’t stretch out a tad with the info. There’s also a photo of Roy beneath the see-through CD tray. 

But all of that is naught to the truly beautiful CD Audio you get the second you start playing the expertly crafted songs. VIC ANESINI did the Remasters at Sony Studios in New York – and he's a name I've sung the praises of before. Anesini has handled very prestigious SONY catalogue – Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, Nilsson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carole King, Janis Joplin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Santana, Paul Simon and The Jayhawks to name but a few. Clean – full of presence and warmth – this thing is a joy to listen too. And even if the strings and Anita Kerr Singers do tend to over dramatize some of the songs – Orbison's voice is a thing of wonder throughout. It's also one of those reissues that become vastly enhanced by the addition of four smartly chosen and apt bonus tracks (the chipper "Uptown" and the Dick Flood ballad B-side "Here Come's That Song Again" alone are fabulous Big O tunes).  

It opens with the biggest heartbreak song of all time – our boy bemoaning his bachelor fate in "Only The Lonely..." – the audio on this baby is (if you'll forgive the pun) – monumental. Churchill Kohlman penned the goodbye letter song "Cry" while "Blue Avenue" was co-penned by Roy with one of his backing singers singer Joe Melson. Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" gives Roy an ideal vehicle for weepy melodrama - our hero hoping that time will heal a broken heart (don't hold your breath pal). Similar to "Only The Lonely..." - Orbison and Melson again co-penned "Come Back To Me (My Love)" - a good song that doesn't quiet get past its cutesy arrangement. Side 2 opens with a song that's been covered by so many - "Blue bayou. A fave of mine is Linda Ronstadt's version on her "Simple Dreams" album in 1977. Joe Melson solo penned "Raindrops" while another Don Gibson classic "I'd Be) A Legend In My Time" gets a Roy going over to great effect. "I'm Hurtin'" is surely one the great tracks on the record though I'm kind of indifferent to the Gene Pitney cover "Twenty Two Days". It ends on "I'll Say It's My Fault" - a song Roy teamed up with Producer Fred Foster on.   

A sweetheart of a release and one that boasts exceptional Audio - classy like the great man himself - and all of it done in conjunction with the Roy Orbison Estate. 

"...There goes my baby...there goes my heart..." - Roy sang on "Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)". I think he took our hearts too...

NOTE: There is a Hallmark CD reissue from 2010 on Hallmark/Pickwick 711742 (Barcode 5050457117429) that has the 12-track album only. I bought it in error - there are no mastering credits of any kind, a gatefold inlay that advertises other CDs by the label and even though it says 'Original Recording' on the altered front sleeve - the Audio is good rather than great. I'd advise buy the official Sony issue using the Barcode provided above to locate the right issue. Sony has also done 'Expanded Edition' Vic Anesini CD Remasters of Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" and "Crying" with equally beautiful Audio.

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