Others reviewers have made much of the failings of
this 4-disc set, and there is much left to be desired. But
the failings aren't in either the quality of the music or
the way it's presented to your ears here. The
shortcomings are in the packaging and annotation,
which are not quite shoddy but certainly could have
The set does have the advantage of including material
from every significant part of Roy's musical legacy
from the Sun releases beginning in 1956 up through
"Wild Hearts Run Out of Time," recorded in the 1980s
and released posthumously on "King of Hearts" (the
title of the last song has been reduced on this set to
just "Wild Hearts," for some reason). There is nothing
later, so no Traveling Wilburys.
Personally, I would have preferred less of the Sun stuff
and more Monument LP tracks, but you take what you
get here. I've collected Roy on CD for quite a long time
now, and I still found about 25 tracks on the set that I
didn't have previously, including both midtempo tunes
and ballads that are among the best I've heard by him.
Anyone who didn't have ANY Orbison and was looking
to get a passel of wonderful music in one jump would
do just fine with this.
3 star set for a 5 star artist
Matthew A. Evans | Louisville, Kentucky United States | 04/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"first off, let me say that i'd like to have given this set 3 1/2 stars. merely 3 seemed too few and 4 seemed too many. the problem here isn't roy's fault though. sony music churned out a 4-disc "best of" with the same passionless, careless, halfhearted effort as it does with most greatest hits albums. the basic rundown:disc one - this disc starts with some of the early recordings. tracks one through seven are good enough for what they are, but roy hadn't really discovered his niche yet. the songs are too "rockabilly" and didn't really allow roy to make use of his voice in any sort of exciting way. these songs aren't by any means bad, but when i put a roy orbison CD in, i rarely want to hear him "rock out". i always thought his voice was too blue for songs like "ooby dooby". tracks eight through nineteen are vintage roy at his his heartbreaking best. obviously some of the songs are better than others, but even the lightweight tracks outshine most other artists from the period.disc two - this is the highlight of the set. the only really great roy orbison song that isn't on this disc is "only the lonely" which is on disc one. ("oh pretty woman" is on disc three, but i find that song a little overrated and don't really consider it to be one of the greats, even if it is the most well remembered)."running scared", "love hurts", "crying", "dream baby", "blue bayou", "in dreams"....all of those greats are on disc two. your music collection isn't complete without most of these songs. no one sang the pop ballad like orbison, no one at the time and practically no one since. the music is at once simple and melodic, and at the same time disarmingly complex and rich in depth and scope. disc three - this one is sort of hit and miss, although it succeeds more than it fails. there are nineteen tracks on this disc, and the first thirteen are basically in the same vein as disc two. a few of the songs are second rate, but are usually still pretty, and still executed flawlessly. the tragedy starts at track fourteen, when suddenly the production sounds cheap and schmaltzy, and the songs are generally lousy to boot. between tracks 14 and 19, there is only one orbison composition ("drifting away") and while a great song can survive poor production, these mediocre songs - with their celine dion arrangements and production - just sound paper thin.disc four - essentially the same story as with disc three, only with less redeeming material. this disc consists mostly of songs that roy did for movies, two re-recordings of songs in german, and a couple of "alternate and unreleased" versions of other songs that you didn't care about anyhow. only about half of the disc is unlistenable, but even the good tracks aren't really great and don't warrant a lot of repeat listening. i won't say that i never listen to this disc, but i suspect that more often than not, i only make myself listen to it because if i never play it, i'll feel like i didn't get my forty bucks worth. zero travelling wilbury's material.packaging - here's the really sad part. sony seemed to not put any thought or effort into putting this set together. disc four features a horrible picture of roy in a leather jacket, trying to look unconvincingly cool while standing in front of a leopard-print background. similarly, the lettering along the spines of discs 1-3 is white, while on disc 4, the lettering is red and in a different font, as though it wasn't actually a part of the set. additionally, the liner notes are in a book that isn't thick enough to fill the box that the cd's come in. it's also not long enough, which means that my copy of this set had bent edges as well.all over, it's another soulless, loveless attempt to cash in on a famous name without bothering to give it the respect that is deserved. five stars for roy being opera's embassador to rock and roll. zero stars to sony for spitting on a legacy."
Roy deserved better
William J. Eichelberger | Ft. Thomas, KY | 06/17/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I've bought many box sets over the years, but this one takes the cake for being the most disappointing. At the time of it's release I had managed to track down most everything on it through the compilations that were released to capitalize on Roy's death. I bought the box set sight unseen and couldn't believe how scanty it was when I got it home and opened it. It showed no advance thought or planning with a poorly done book and four discs with 50 minutes of music on each. Sony strikes again, or I should say, Sony strikes out. Like I said, Roy deserved better. Maybe if Sony had leased the rights to the music to Rhino justice would have been done."
It's the only box set from the Big O!
firstname.lastname@example.org | 02/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, Sony Music Products could have done it better. More, and better chosen songs from the Monument golden era (1960-64). Better annotation. More running time per disc. A representatio of his last works, Wilbury's and solo. But it's still the only cross-section of his career that we have and, as such, it is essential for the Orbison fan. The sound is decent, and only a few secections are totally unnecessary. And it's priced reasonably. The only reason it doesn't merit 5 stars is it could have been so much better. The music is certainly 5 star quality"
Elvis's favorite singer
email@example.com | 02/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This man was E's favorite singer and when "Crying" was released, Elvis went out and bought 10 albums and gave to his closest friends!!!! The clearest voice ever! Few if any could survive the tragedy that visited Roy. Yet he was our most prolific singer and he was an excellent song writer as well."