The Traveling Wilburys (2 CD + DVD) By The Traveling Wilburys

December 27, 2016

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The sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury were a true super group. Lucky (Bob Dylan), Nelson (George Harrison, Otis (Jeff Lynne), Lefty (Roy Orbison), and Charlie Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty) came together as an accident, released two albums; one after Orbison’s death in December of 1988, and disbanded.

Harrison, producer Lynne, along with Orbison and Petty gathered in the studio to record a B side to Harrison’s single “This Is Love.” The resultant song “Handle With Care” was so good that it was decided to release it on its own under the Traveling Wilburys moniker complete with fictitious names. Dylan later joined to make the group a quintet. Jim Keltner as Buster Sidebury was the drummer.

The result of all the tongue-in-cheek shenanigans was some of the best pure rock/pop of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Their entire catalogue has now been released as a two CD + 1 DVD Box Set titled The Traveling Wilburys Collection.

From pieces of pop heaven such as “Handle With Care,” “End Of The Line,” and “She’s My Baby” to the quirky “Wilbury Twist” and “Tweeter And The Monkey Man;” it is a journey through the best pop music has to offer. Their first album with Orbison’s soaring voice finds them at their best but everything is above the norm.

Jeff Lynne is a master producer and their sound was always clear and crisp and remains so on this release. The accompanying booklet is extensive. The DVD presents a history of the band and takes one back a quarter of a century to where everyone looks a lot younger and in the case of Orbison and Harrison are still alive.

The Traveling Wilburys were a short term project by five superstars. In some ways I can’t help but think the other four wanted to play with Orbison as the band only carried on for one more album following his death. They left behind a stunning collection of well-crafted music that represented a unique and creative career stop for the musicians involved. High recommended for any fan of American rock and roll.


You Got It 45 by Roy Orbison

May 21, 2011

Roy Orbison is considered one of the greatest vocalists off all time. His voice had a five octave range. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1987.

Commercially, he faded somewhat after leaving the Monument label and signing with MGM. His last top 20 single was the number one “Oh, Pretty Woman” issued during 1964.

During the mid to late 1980’s he enbarked upon a comeback, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Traveling Wilbury’s. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack December 6, 1988,

“You Got It” was a slick pop song issued during early 1989. It was co-written by Orbison, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty. It had a classic vocal that just soared up and up. It returned him to the top ten less than a year after his death as it reached number nine on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.


Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 by The Traveling Wilburys

September 22, 2010

The second Traveling Wilburys album may not be as consistently excellent as their debut, but it remains a very good release in its own right. Maybe it was due to the loss of Roy Orbison, who was treated as the grand old man of the first release, or possibly it did not contain the surprises of the group’s first album.

George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne returned to the studio during April and May of 1990. The result was Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. There had been no volume two; skipping that number was a joke to confuse their fans. They also took on new names: Harrison was now Spike Wilbury, Dylan was Boo, Lynne assumed the name Clayton, and Petty became Muddy.

The album was released October 29, 1990 and while it did not achieve the massive commercial success of its predecessor, it did receive a platinum sales award for selling over a million copies and reached number eleven on the United States album charts.

My favorite tracks have always been the first and last. For the opener, the rocking “She’s My Baby,” they imported guitarist Gary Moore to play lead; and play he does as he dominates the recording. And I never get tired of “Wilbury Twist,” the amusing piece of pop paradise that closes the album.

There are a number of other excellent songs as well. “If You Belonged To Me” is a nice outing by Bob Dylan, harking back to his folk days of the ’60s complete with some nice harmonica work. “The Devil’s Been Busy” has more lyrical depth than most of The Traveling Wilbury compositions, featuring a Petty/Dylan vocal with Harrison providing some backing on the sitar. “7 Deadly Sins” has a ’60s feel and the sax work by Jim Horn is exemplary. And like before, good old Jim Keltner was back as the drummer.

The album finds Tom Petty and Bob Dylan dominating the vocal and probably writing duties even though all compositions are credited to the group. And while he co-produced the album with Harrison, it primarily bears Jeff Lynne’s imprint. Harrison is most active as a musician, playing acoustic and electric guitars, sitar, and even some mandolin.

While it remains a cut below their first volume, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 contains a nice selection of early ’90s rock/pop. It is certainly still worth a listen twenty years after its initial release.

Article first published as on Blogcritics.org