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Archive for the ‘Jeff Lynne’ Category

Review: Roy Orbison, “Mystery Girl: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition”

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Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl DeluxeRoy Orbison never intended Mystery Girl to be an epitaph.  Yet The Big O never had the chance to enjoy the overwhelming success of the 1989 album, as he passed away almost two months to the day prior to its release.  Still, as far as epitaphs go, Mystery Girl was – and is – a stunner, a parting gift from one of the most distinctive and resonant voices in rock and roll.  Roy’s Boys, the company formed by Orbison’s sons, and Legacy Recordings have teamed for a 25th anniversary reissue of Orbison’s grand farewell, and the CD/DVD set adds a wealth of never-before-heard or seen material to what was already a rich experience.

Mystery Girl featured Orbison with a little help from his friends – and what friends they were, including fellow Traveling Wilburys Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and George Harrison, plus Bono, The Edge, T-Bone Burnett, The Heartbreakers, and Elvis Costello.  There’s such vibrancy to the original album’s ten tracks that it’s almost impossible to believe that Orbison didn’t live love enough to see their release.   The centerpiece, of course, is its opening track and biggest hit, “You Got It.”  Orbison threw his heart and soul into the sublimely, deceptively simple Wilbury-style composition with a hook to die for and plenty of room for his trademark full-throated vocal attack.  It’s a remarkable piece of pure pop songcraft from producer Jeff Lynne, and songwriters Lynne, Tom Petty and Orbison.  “You Got It” is one of three tracks benefiting from former ELO frontman Lynne’s production.  While it sounds very much of a specific time, it doesn’t sound at all “dated” as many other LPs of the era, relying on synthesizers and electronic textures, now do.

“California Blue” likewise emanated from the Lynne/Petty/Orbison team.  Though it has an easygoing shuffle reminiscent of “You Got It,” it also calls to mind Orbison’s other famous “blue” song, “Blue Bayou.”  Here, Orbison is “doing all I can to get back to you,” but the despair of being away from his loved one is also tempered with a faint ray of hope and Orbison’s steely determination (“One sunny day I’ll get back again/Somehow, someway/But I don’t know when…”)  ELO collaborator Louis Clark’s strings add to the rather beautiful anguish.  Often it seemed as if Orbison drew on all of the tragedies he had survived, pouring his grief into his music.  But there was also a sense of hope and liberation in the survivor’s powerful voice.  Lynne also produced “A Love So Beautiful” which he co-wrote with Roy.  The singer brought his emotional vibrato to the dramatic, rueful ballad, which was embellished with acoustic guitar from George Harrison.

T Bone Burnett was at the helm of “All I Can Do is Dream You,” Billy Burnette and David Malloy’s taut little rocker with a virile lead vocal.  T Bone joined with his fellow Coward Brother, Elvis Costello, to produce Costello’s majestic “The Comedians,” a wonderfully withering, wordy ballad with a martial beat provided by Keltner.  It’s one of the richest tracks on the album thanks to Costello’s pitch-perfect evocation of the classic Orbison style with his own signatures lyrical flourishes.  Like Costello, Bono seized the opportunity to write a “Roy Orbison song.”  The album’s title derives from the dark “She’s a Mystery to Me,” penned by Bono and The Edge, produced by Bono, and featuring Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein of The Heartbreakers with studio veteran drummer Jim Keltner.

The ballad “In the Real World,” from the Richard Kerr/Will Jennings team (“Looks Like We Made It,” “I’ll Never Love This Way Again”) and co-producer Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers, returns to the theme of dreams that play such a key role in Orbison’s early career.  Orbison’s tender, fragile vocal rests in the upward reaches of his range.  Campbell is the most represented producer on the set, working with Roy on four tracks.   (Barbara Orbison joined them to produce “In the Real World.”)  “Windsurfer” from the classic “Oh, Pretty Woman” team of Orbison and Bill Dees is a breezy tune with a mordant twist; the production is in the sonic spirit of the Lynne-produced tracks, and Jeff even joins in on background vocals with Rick Vito supplying Harrison-esque slide guitar lines. There was likely more than a flash of paternal pride when Orbison recorded “The Only One,” co-written by his son Wesley.  The biting track is bolstered by presence of the Memphis Horns arranged by Stax great Steve Cropper. Orbison and Campbell teamed with more surprising compatriots, the hitmaking team of Diane Warren and Albert Hammond, for the pop ballad “Careless Heart” which closed the original Mystery Girl sequence.  It’s not in the overt power ballad mode one might have expected from Warren and Hammond, and the Heartbreakers keep the sound organic.

After the jump: what will you find on the deluxe CD/DVD edition? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 12, 2014 at 12:39

Release Round-Up: Weeks of December 17 and 24

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With the last two weeks of the year so light on catalogue titles, we figured we’d combine it all into one post. Below you’ll find two new titles for this week, and two for the next!

Pogues 30 packshotThe Pogues, 30 Years (Rhino U.K.)

Here, in one box, is all of the Irish folk-rockers’ original albums, including new mixes of debut Red Roses for Me and Peace and Love, plus a bonus unreleased live show from 1991 with Joe Strummer of The Clash assuming lead vocal duties. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Excitable Boy SACDBoz Scaggs, Boz Scaggs (Hybrid SACD – DSD) / Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy (Hybrid SACD – DSD) (Audio Fidelity)

Two new audiophile titles, mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman, respectively.

1YES_StudioAlbums_CoverYes, The Studio Albums (Rhino)

A collection of all of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-nominated prog group’s studio albums for Atlantic/ATCO, featuring the remastered and expanded presentations from 2003-2004 and the 2009 expanded remaster of 1987’s Big Generator, previously released only in Japan. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

American HustleVarious Artists, American Hustle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Legacy)

The soundtrack to this highly-anticipated, award-contender drama from David O. Russell (director of last year’s excellent Silver Linings Playbook) features, among other period pop/rock tracks, including a re-recorded version of Electric Light Orchestra’s “10538 Overture,” the Japan-only Zoom bonus track “Long Black Road” (left off the last remaster) and a new Jeff Lynne track, “Stream of Stars.”

Written by Mike Duquette

December 17, 2013 at 08:06

Release Round-Up: Week of April 23

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Kaya DeluxeBob Marley & The Wailers, Kaya: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Island/Tuff Gong/UMe)

A newly-remastered deluxe version of Marley’s follow-up to Exodus, featuring the bonus track “Smile Jamaica” and an unreleased live show. A vinyl edition includes the regular album and the bonus track.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

ELO - Zoom RevisedElectric Light Orchestra, Zoom / Live / Jeff Lynne, Armchair Theatre (Frontiers)

ELO’s 2001 album Zoom, and a subsequent set from a tour to promote the album, will be reissued on CD alongside band frontman Jeff Lynne’s solo album from 1990. All three will include unreleased bonus tracks.

ZoomAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LiveAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Armchair Theatre
Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 23, 2013 at 08:00

“Do Ya” Want More Reissues From Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne? Three Titles Set for April

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ELO Live 2013April might as well be known as The Month of Electric Light Orchestra, as the group’s pioneering frontman, producer, arranger and songwriter Jeff Lynne has announced three new catalogue projects due in the U.S. on April 23 and in the U.K. on April 22.  We’ve updated our original post of October 5, 2012 with new information including full track listings and details on each of the three upcoming, bonus-packed releases!

UPDATED ORIGINAL POST OF 10/5/12: The wait is over.  Though Electric Light Orchestra’s leader, co-founder and overall studio wizard Jeff Lynne has busied himself in recent years producing hits for artists including Regina Spektor, Joe Walsh and his fellow Traveling Wilburys Tom Petty and the late George Harrison, he hasn’t released any new solo music since 1990’s Armchair Theatre.  On Tuesday, that will change, however, as the sunglass-wearing musical guru releases not one, but two, new albums.  Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra features new recordings written, produced and performed by Lynne, of eleven ELO favorites, plus one new song, “Point of No Return.”  In these renditions (frequently so close to the originals that even a diehard fan might have a hard time spotting the difference!), Lynne impressively plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar, piano, bass, drums, keyboards, vocoder and even cowbell, in addition to supplying the lead and background vocals.  Mr. Blue Sky is being joined by Long Wave, an 11-track salute to the songs that inspired him, from writers like Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (“If I Loved You”), Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (“Bewitched”), Charles Aznavour (“She”) and Don Covay (“Mercy, Mercy”).

What does this all have to do with the catalogue music world of The Second Disc, you might ask?  Inside the sturdy, hardback book-style packaging of Mr. Blue Sky, you’ll find an insert announcing three more projects coming soon from Lynne and Frontiers Records, and all are reissues of classic titles from Lynne and ELO.  Just hit the jump and we’ll fill you in on what to expect, plus a little background, too! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 19, 2013 at 15:29