Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Traveling Wilburies
It's been 20 years since the super group that wanted to be anything but was created.

The group consisted of five members: George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.

They produced two albums, but only the first is worth getting. The second (called Volume 3) was produced after the death of Orbison. Maybe that's the reason it wasn't any good.

Either way, listening to the album over and over again over the last 20 years has allowed me to recite all the lyrics from memory and wonder what it all meant.

But listening to the first album is sadder now. Harrison is dead. There has been talk that this year's summer tour will be Petty's last.

And then there is Orbison, who was on his way to a career revival before his death. What's remarkable about Orbison is that, even at 50, he had the range of a man 30 years younger. His final album -- Mystery Girl -- was a triumph I couldn't appreciate until I was older. In much the same way, I'm more and more convinced now that the best song on the first Wilburies' album is Not Alone Anymore, the only song in which Orbison had lead vocal to himself.

The song displayed Orbison's passion and range, and again, makes me wonder what he would have done had he lived longer.

Just something to think about as the Wilburies play in the background.



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