Roy Orbison In Dreams- The Greatest Hits Reissue CD Review
There’s never been another voice in rock like his. Roy Orbison sang like an operatic angel with a rock and roll heart. His songs were mesmerizing, literally stopping you in your tracks or making you nearly run off the road when that glorious voice of his first came over the radio. His voice was so distinctive and so unusual that nobody else was even close, and few artists, then or now, could cover his songs.
The nineteen tracks on the Sony/Legacy reissue In Dreams were originally released in ’87, but the original Virgin recording has been out of print for nearly twenty years. This new version consists of re-recordings done by Orbison of his original releases, but the only things he changed was the quality of the recordings. Fans can see for themselves through an interactive program at RoyOrbison.com that allows the user to compare and vote on the new versions versus the old on five originals: “In Dreams,” “Crying,” “Pretty Woman,” “Running Scared,” and “Only The Lonely.”
It’s a staggering body of work. For those who only know Orbison through “Pretty Woman,” that’s just a jumping off place. Try “Leah” for some spine-tingling tonsil swinging as Orbison wraps his vocal chords around a chandelier and dangles from the ceiling. Immerse yourself in the surreality of “the candy colored clown they call the sandman” from “In Dreams,” the song Dennis Hooper used to arouse and upset himself himself with in David’s Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Lynch reportedly said Hopper was originally slated to lip synch the song that Dean Stockwell ended up doing but Hopper couldn’t remember the lyrics long enough to perform it.
Forget Linda Ronstadt. Once you hear Roy sing “Blue Bayou,” there’s no turning back. His range is incredible, equally at home soaking in a warm baritone or soaring aloft in a pure clear seemingly effortless falsetto.
And, he wrote most of this stuff as well. “Mean Woman Blues,” “Candyman,” ‘Ooby Dooby,” and ‘Dream Baby” are the only ones not penned by Orbison, but once he cut them, he might as well have. They belonged to him forever after. He was an act you just couldn’t follow. Even a star-studded musical ensemble assembled for ’88’s Cinemax’s TV special “Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night” at L.A’s Coconut Grove reduced stars including Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, k.d.lang and Tom Waits to backup singers and sidemen, looking on in wonder and respect as Orbison sailed high above them.
Everything you loved hearing Orbison do is here: turning in such an impossible vocal performance on “Crying,” that no other male artist and few females(k.d. lang came close) have attempted it. Scaling a range on “Running Scared”that any opera diva would be proud to conquer. The timeless Budy Holly like quality of “Claudette” that the Everly Brotherrs had a hit with in ’58. And of course “Pretty Woman,” a tutorial on how to write a perfect rock and roll opera – lovesickness, drama, defeat, resurrection,resolution- all in under three minutes.
No matter what your musical tastes, there’s something here for everybody. He was simply the best. There’s just no excuse for not having this one in your collection.