The Essential Roy Orbison

The Essential Roy Orbison

“I . . . knew that if anyone got a look at him he’d be dead inside of a week,” Sun Records founder Sam Phillips once said of Roy Orbison. More than 40 years after his first single though, the Texas native’s voice, songs and look are all rock and roll classics. The Essential Roy Orbison showcases 40 tracks from most stages of his career: leaping Sun rockabilly (“Ooby Dooby,” with a guitar solo so nice the Big O played it twice), country hits (the Emmylou Harris duet “That Lovin’ You Feeling Again”), and most importantly the towering pop psychodramas that made his legend. “Only the Lonely,” the deeply weird “Leah” and the rest are augmented by boppers such as “Working for the Man” (“I wanna kill him but it wouldn’t be right”) and latter-day classics by Elvis Costello (“The Comedians”) and the team of Orbison and Glenn Danzig (“Life Fades Away,” a nugget from the Less Than Zero soundtrack). Even with “Running Scared” and “Crying” represented by T Bone Burnett-produced remakes, Essential is a pretty flawless summation of a great artist’s work.

Disc 1

Disc 2

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