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Roy Orbison (Virgin Records) Mystery Girl
When Roy Orbison died suddenly and unexpectedly last December, the rock world lost one of its legendary heroes-the man who Elvis Presley once called "the greatest singer in the world." The tragedy of his death is surpassed only by the irony of the fact that he was on the cusp of a major comeback. The popularity of The Traveling Wilburys Volume I --his collaboration with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne & George Harrison, is a testimony to that fact. The Wilbury project was conceived during the recording of Mystery Girl which was originally slated for later release.
Mystery Girl was Roy's first album of all new material in over a decade, and sadly enough, it was also his last. It stands as a tribute at the fore of the legacy that he left behind. The material is quintessentially Orbison cloaked in a modern-day style that demonstrates its timeless and forceful quality. Many of the tracks on this album were written and produced by various contemporary artists (among them the Traveling Wilburys minus "Lucky" Wilbury aka Bob Dylan) who themselves were inspired by the man. "The Comedians" an Elvis Costello contribution, is a whimsical piece about a guy who is stranded atop a ferris wheel while his girl takes off with another man "who held the lever that could bring me down." Two songs "You Got It" and "California Blue" were co-written with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame) and are destined to be classics.
Another contribution, "She's a Mystery to Me" is a Bono/Edge composition. The track was produced by Bono and undoubtedly inspired the title for the album. Elsewhere on this record is the unmistakable presence of producer T. Bone Burnett. George Harrison sits in on "A Love So Beautiful" co-written and produced by Lynne, and instrumental back-up for most of the songs is provided by Heartbreakers (as in Tom Petty & the ... ) Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein. This is an unforgettable album, as good as any that Orbison made and will carry the legend forward for younger generations who are just now becoming acquainted with his work.