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Similarly Requested CDs
Historically interesting but not truly essential early sides
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike Orbison's fraternity brothers (Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl and Johnny), "The Sun Sound" sound didn't provide definition for his career. His famous labelmates delivered to Sun more fully formed renditions of themselves: Jerry Lee Lewis found his piano-pounding swagger, Carl Perkins his rock-hillbilly-country crossover, Johnny Cash his train rhythms and driving baritone voice, and Elvis, well... Elvis. Orbison, on the other hand, had his voice, and the beginnings of his songwriting, but hadn't yet developed a sound that particularly suited either. The vital elements that would propel him to artistic stardom were awaiting his move to Monument a few years later.His stint at Sun (1956-58) evidenced plenty of talent, and many of the tracks he recorded at the Memphis studio rise above the rectangular-peg-round-hole mismatch. Still, the overall impact of his Sun sessions is 'talent in waiting'. His slower blues numbers (replete with rockabilly hiccups) simply don't provide the balladry that he later leveraged to such incredible effect.There are many memorable tracks, including the hit single, "Ooby Dooby," and the Cramps-inspiring "Domino (Cat Called Domino)," but they fair better without comparison to his labelmates concurrent work, and his own breakout work of a few years later. His demo of "Claudette" (complete with a melodic screw-up) suggests it was written with the Everly Brothers in mind, as it fits their voices better than Orbison's.Numerous tracks (including "Claudette") feature Orbison alone with his guitar, providing a special opportunity to hear the beauty of his voice without the orchestral surround that would become his trademark. Among the alternate versions, the half-spoken "Chicken Hearted," with extra lyrics missing from the officially issued track is a treat. The sax line that propels both versions is sadly uncredited, as the wicked, wicked tone is just the sort that made early rock really rock so hard.Orbison's Sun-era work has been anthologized numerous times on both vinyl and compact disc. Whether or not Varese's generous 31 tracks (about 66 minutes on a single disc) constitute a "complete" collection, as denoted by the title, is arguable. Bear Family's German import, "The Sun Years 1956-58" sports a lower track count (28), but includes a pair of alternate/demo takes ("Ooby Dooby" and "Claudette") seemingly not found here. The 36-track, 2-disc, import "Essential Sun Collection" features an additional alternate take of "Tryin' to Get to You."These minor differences are a quibble to the casual early-rock fan, but important to Orbison collectors (who are more likely to be interested in this Sun-era material in the first place). Like many of Varese's recent Sun collections, this fills a niche in the domestic issue catalog, saving those who want a reasonable taste of the early material from having to buy the entire meal at import prices. And to be fair, this is perhaps everything but the complimentary toothpick on your way out the door. New liner notes from Bill Dahl provide a good overview of Orbison's early career, and the photos (especially of vintage concert posters) provide excellent atmosphere."
All Orbison fans collection will now be complete
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 09/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I think of Roy Orbison, many songs come to mind ~ "Only The Lonely", "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)", "Oh, Pretty Woman", "Crying", "It's Over", "Blue Bayou", "Candy Man", "Mean Woman Blues" and "Running Scared", recorded on the Monument Record label...none of these tunes appear on this Varese Sarabande release, but the high point of this CD is the raw talent you can hear...just like early Elvis, the diamond is there, just needs to be cut and polished.Interestingly enough, Orbison had that driving style in his voice from early on in his career...the only draw back was he needed better material, much of it sounded the same...you can tell the artist that recorded with Sun Records ~ Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, each artist had a very similar sound...only difference with Orbison, his vocal range and voice was better than the others, proved this when he would hit some high notes, that other singers would just look at, and say no way...the exception is when Elvis sang "It's Now Or Never", Presley sounded so much like Roy, it was difficult to separate the two.Great Job by ~ Cary E. Mansfield & Bill Dahl (producers of compilation), Dan Hersch (digitally remastered), Sun Records and Varese Sarabande Records/Varese Vintage...presenting and sharing those early years of rock & roll featuring the original style and songs of ~ ROY ORBISON!Total Time: 66:24 on 31 Tracks ~ Varese Sarabande 302-066-233-2 ~ (2001)"
If You're An Orbison Fan This IS Essential
J. Lovins | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before he turned up at Monument Records and made a less-than-auspicious debut there in 1960 with Up Town [# 72 Billboard Hot 100], but then quickly broke out with the soaring and # 2 Hot 100/# 14 R&B Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel) that same year, Roy Orbison had been a rockabilly artist in the same vein as Harold Jenkins [Conway Twitty].
This 31-track compilation does indeed cover his Sun years in that genre, including two versions of Claudette, the song he wrote about his then teen-age wife which the Everly Brothers would cover in 1958 with a # 30 Pop Top 100.
One reviewer mentions that Bear Family offers two versions of Ooby Dooby, but one of those had been recorded first for the small Je-Wel label in 1956, an operation started by Jean Oliver and Weldon Rogers specifically to distribute the song [the label combines portions of their first names]. That's likely what Bear offers, along with, perhaps, some of his RCA Victor cuts, a label he joined briefly in the late 1950s after leaving Sun, and where he was under the supervision of Chet Atkins.
Much of this is detailed in the five pages of fascinating liner notes written by Bill Dahl which also contains a shot of a very young Roy, poster reproductions for concerts in 1957/58 which also involved Carl Perkins and Warren Smith, and a picture of Roy with his group The Teen Kings, formed in 1955 [James Morrow on electric mandolin, drummer Billy Pat Ellis, rhythm guitarist Johnny "Peanuts" Wilson, and bassist Jack Kennelly]. A discography of the contents appears on the reverse.
Tracks 2, 14 and 16 to 21 were composed by Roy, 6, 7, 12, 13, 23, 24, and 26 by Sun boss Sam Phillips [track 22 is a Phillips-Orbison collaboration]. Roy also re-worked a Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) tune [track 5], while 4 and 15 were written by Johnny Cash who was also at Sun at that time. In fact, on You Tell Me, although also re-worked by Roy, you still hear the influence of Tennessee Two guitarist Luther Perkins. That also applies to One More Time, even though that was an Orbison composition. When you listen to The Clown you also get a hint of what was to come at Monument Records.
This might not be regarded as essential to anyone who was not a fan in general of the Big O, but to any devoted follower of his illustrious career this is an absolute must. Thank you Varese-Sarabande."