cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
Cd box label – [CLICK to enlarge]

  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

 

 

 

"This is the best record of its kind ever made. Then again, it's also the only record of its kind ever made." ( - David Wild in a Rolling Stone Review)

Cream Of The Crate Reviews 1 to 50 were vinyl album reviews.  
The following fifty reviews (51 - 100) were originally marked as CD Reviews 1 - 50
and this numbering has been kept to keep consistency with the published CD reviews.

 

This is number forty nine in the series of retro-reviews of Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called,
“Cream of The Crate (CD’s)”
, and they represent CD albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

The Traveling Wilburys is one of the finest groups that may never have formed. Fortunately for us, they did!

The boxed set is titled The Traveling Wilburys Collection and was released by the Wilbury Record Co, through Rhino Records in 2007. The release code is 8122799824.

It consists of two CD’s of music and a DVD of clips, along with a booklet.

cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
CD Label – [CLICK to enlarge]

Well if there ever was a modern day “Super-group” it would surely be the Traveling Wilburys. If you don’t know about the Traveling Wilburys the question must be asked, what barrel have you been living in?

 

With membership being Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne – it was a “super, duper” group, that really should never have been.

 

When George Harrison’s track “This Is Love” (1988) was taken from his album “Cloud Nine“, his record company (Warner brothers) needed a B-Side, and as it was customary to use an unreleased track that would further highlight the “A”-side.

So George decided to make it a project with his mates.

By coincidence they were all hanging out in Dylan’s studio and so George put the project to them and in no time they “knocked” up Handle With Care.

The problem was that when George took it back to the executives at Warner’s, it literally blew their socks off, and, they were unwilling to let such a gem be a B-side.

The overall musicality was brilliant, but the vocals of Roy Orbison were stunning and topped off with George’s beautiful guitar work, it was a no-brainer asa release in its own right!

Seeing a good thing (and the probability of many dollars profit), they urged George to consider this track as the first track of a complete album. It seems that the timing was right and that George was indeed keen to be part of another group and the other four seeing a remarkable opportunity, agreed.

When you are dealing with the quality of musicianship of these five, the last thing they need to do is to “push” their individuality.

So the project became an “ego-free” collaboration, equality and true musical camaraderie.

The first thing they decided was in fact not to use their own names.

Now both George and Jeff Lynne had been having great fun calling some of the studio equipment (the limiters and equalisers) Wilburys. This was taken up as the group’s name with the addition of trembling, so they first became the Trembling Wilburys.

Jeff then (thankfully) suggested replacing “trembling” with “traveling”, and so the Traveling Wilburys were born.

Then they set about creating a whole history based around the Traveling Wilburys having been a once great nomadic tribe of wandering musicians, whose ancestry went back so far its origins could no longer be traced.

cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
Booklet rear cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Further, their roots were deep in the obscure civilisation of the Asiatic Pygmies (called Travelians), whose musical intrigue was well renowned at that time.

The amazing thing was, that many people grew to believe the story until it all became fact, and no longer a story! I’m sure the five “Wilburys” must have had a great laugh.

The group released two albums, The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 (1988), and later, Vol 3 (1990), although very sadly Roy Orbison died prior to the second album being recorded.

These individual albums sold very quickly and became almost impossible to obtain and so this boxed set of two Cd’s – each representing the two previously released albums, plus the DVD was produced.

The box set was actually released in three editions; the standard edition, with both CDs and DVD in a double Digipak package and a 16-page booklet; a “deluxe” boxed edition with the CDs and DVD and an extensive 40-page booklet, artist postcards, and photographs; or a “deluxe” boxed edition on vinyl.

We are looking at the standard edition.

Now a quick word about the booklet.

I have generally been quite scathing about the various booklets that come with Cd sets, but this is one of the better booklets.

Sixteen single sided leaf pages, gloss paper with both black and white and coloured plates. It provides a decent background on the group and its history, and if anything might go a tad overboard on the “Wilbury” (manufactured) history – but it’s a good read.

There is plenty of info on the other artists that are part of the recordings, apart from the “Big Five”, there are details on the two Cd’s and the DVD and, there is even a double page coloured spread on how to do the Wilbury Twist!

On the scale of one to ten, I’d give it a 9.0!

 
cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
Booklet cover – [CLICK to enlarge]


Now, in order to maintain the desire to be “ego” free, they took on pseudonyms, but for the sake of making the reading of this review easier, I’ll include the real names.


Line-ups

Volume 1

  • “Nelson Wilbury” – George Harrison
  • “Otis Wilbury” – Jeff Lynne
  • “Lefty Wilbury” – Roy Orbison
  • “Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr” – Tom Petty
  • “Lucky Wilbury” – Bob Dylan

Volume 3

  • “Spike Wilbury” – George Harrison
  • “Clayton Wilbury” – Jeff Lynne
  • “Muddy Wilbury” – Tom Petty
  • “Boo Wilbury” – Bob Dylan
cream of the crate: cd review #49 – the traveling wilburys : the traveling wilburys collection
Rear of the box: Track listing – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Disk No.1 – representing Volume No.1 has the following twelve tracks on it. It has the ten tracks from the original album, plus, two bonus tracks.

  1. “Handle with Care” – 3:20
  2. “Dirty World” – 3:30
  3. “Rattled” – 3:00
  4. “Last Night” – 3:48
  5. “Not Alone Any More” – 3:24
  6. “Congratulations” – 3:30
  7. “Heading for the Light” – 3:37
  8. “Margarita” – 3:15
  9. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” – 5:30
  10. “End of the Line” – 3:30
  11. “Maxine” – 2:49
    • Previously unreleased bonus track, with additional backing vocals by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison and a guitar solo by Jeff Lynne added in 2007.
  12. “Like a Ship” – 3:30
    • Previously unreleased bonus track, with additional backing vocals by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison and a guitar solo by Dhani Harrison added in 2007.

A plate from the boxed set

A plate from the boxed set

 

Vol. 1. I can’t go past track No.1 Handle With Care.

This is, as eluded to previously, the track that started the who Wilbury thing off.

Described as one of the most memorable records of the 1980’s, while George does a great job singing the verses, remember it was to be the B-side of a single release by him, I think Roy Orbison should have been charged with outright theft!

He steals this track with his amazing vocal range and passion. His voice soars, hovers, and soars again.

Incidentally, the title “Handle With Care” came offhand when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.

George Harrison
Been beat up and battered around
Been sent up and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputation’s changeable
Situation’s tolerable
But baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

Roy Orbison
I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Traveling Wilburys
Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine and dream on

George Harrison
I’ve been fobbed off and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In day care centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

Roy Orbison
I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Traveling Wilburys
Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

Handle With Care

Now I really like this album, each track is is on it because it deserves to be.

I could discuss Congratulations – the Bob Dylan composition which is a piece of brilliant and sweet sarcasm.

Or there is, Tweeter and the Monkey Man, a track that Roy Orbison didn’t appear on but, it is a brilliant and entertaining piece written by Dylan and Petty with Dylan taking then lead vocals.

At around 5 minutes 30 seconds, it was the longest track recorded by the Wilburys and tells the story of drug pushers, a cop and features “Tweeter” a transexual Vietnam Vet!

But I have chosen to look at tracks No.7 and No.10. Track No.7 is, Heading For The Light.

Now many reviewers have not taken to this track, and it is often rated low on the list of the Traveling Wilbury tracks.

Written by the Wilburys, to me it smacks of George Harrison, it is very much in the lineage of his previous songs, part spiritual, part in your face reality.

The production has Jeff Lynne written all over it and is an up-tempo track with a country rock feel that is played with all the class we would expect to come from these guys. Very uplifting and positive in message. Incidentally, the most excellent sax playing is by Jim Horn.

I see the sun ahead, I ain’t never looking back
All the dreams are coming true as I think of you
Now there’s nothing in the way to stop me
Heading for the light
Now there’s nothing in the way to stop me
Heading for the light
Heading for the light
Heading for the light

 

Featuring George Harrison, it is actually a track that any of the members of this group might have released themselves, but I think it is actually most suited to George.

Heading For The Light

 

The final track on Cd No.1 is track No.10 End Of the Line.

This is probably amongst some utterly splendid compositions by these guys and is my favourite. Whether by accident or design it is the perfect track to finish the only “true” Wilbury album off with.

Given Roy Orbison was ill by the time the album was being wrapped up, and in fact died of a heart attack at the end of 1988, it really could represent the last track of the five of them, but, life is never as neat as all that.

In fact Bob Dylan didn’t perform on the track so it wasn’t to be the track to remember them all by, but is still a track to remember.

But really at the end of the day none of this matters! George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison sing the verses in turn, while Tom Petty sings the choruses.

It’s a beautifully constructed song, and like all great compositions, its simple in theme. No matter what life throws up, in the end, It’s all right!

Some would say, it’s just some “folky” wisdom! Wrong!! It’s not just “some” folky wisdom, it is pure wisdom backed by some kick-arse “folky” playing – there is a difference.

I utterly love the way the track mutates into the old classic “Freight Train“. How appropriate, the train is coming to the last stop – it comes to “The End Of The Line“!

In a brilliant touch, The music video for “End of the Line” was filmed after Roy Orbison’s death in December 1988. To compensate for the loss, a shot of a guitar sitting in a rocking chair next to a photo of Orbison was used when Orbison’s vocals are heard.

Finally, there is what might almost be a recognition of one other great musician that whose life ended tragically, but in the end, that as well was alright! Why else make mention of Purple Haze?

Chorus 1: George Harrison]

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand



[Verse 1: Tom Petty]

You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
Maybe a diamond ring



[Chorus 2: Jeff Lynne]

Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is Judgement Day



[Verse 2: Tom Petty]

Maybe somewhere down the road away
You’ll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
Purple haze



[Chorus 3: Roy Orbison]

Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line



[Verse 3: Tom Petty]

Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive
It don’t matter if you’re by my side
I’m satisfied

[Chorus 4: George Harrison]

Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say



[Jeff Lynne]

Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive
Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please



[George Harrison]

Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line


End Of The Line

The two bonus tracks are nice additions.

Maxine is a nice uptempo track written by Harrison, it was originally rejected for the album but added to this set. Additional vocals were later overdubbed by Harrisons son, Dhani and Jeff Lynne.

Like A Ship, for me, is probably the weakest track on the entire set of albums, but given there would be no more Traveling Wilbury music once Harrison passed away, so it is easy to see why it would be included.

Like a Ship is credited to “Ayrton Wilbury”, a pseudonym for Dhani Harrison. Mind you, some reviewers say this track is better than Maxine!

So, maybe it’s a matter of taste. It is certainly more down tempo and I don’t know, it still sounds unfinished to me.

Double plate from the centre of the booklet

 

The second music Cd – Disk No.3 (remember disk #2 is the DVD) has thirteen tracks on it, the original 11 tracks from the Vol.2 album plus two bonus tracks.

  1. She’s My Baby” – 3:14
  2. “Inside Out” – 3:36
  3. “If You Belonged To Me” – 3:13
  4. “Devil’s Been Busy” – 3:18
  5. “7 Deadly Sins” – 3:18
  6. “Poor House” – 3:17
  7. “Where Were You Last Night?” – 3:03
  8. “Cool Dry Place” – 3:37
  9. “New Blue Moon” – 3:21
  10. “You Took My Breath Away” – 3:18
  11. “Wilbury Twist” – 2:56
  12. “Nobody’s Child” (Cy Coben, Mel Foree) – 3:28
    • Bonus track, previously released on Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal.
  13. “Runaway” (Del Shannon, Max D. Crook) – 2:30


So I have decided to play three tracks from this Cd, those being tracks numbers 10, 11 and 13.

Certainly when released, the response was not as great as to the first album. Was it that they went back to the “well” once too often, or was it that the death of Roy Orbison had so dramatic effect upon them?

Another plate from the booklet

 

Track No.1She”s My Baby featured the lead guitar by Gary Moore, an Irish musician, and although he is a good guitarist per se, I really don’t think he added much to the overall sound.

Track No.5, while featuring Dylan, really isn’t to my ears as good a track as it could have been. Dylan singing doo wop is an intriguing concept, but I don’t believe he pulls it off.

Look somehow the entire album really is somewhat dour compared to album No.1 , and it’s almost as if the energy wasn’t there, because putting aside Roy Orbison not being alive to be part of it, there was still considerable talent to input into this recording.

Track No.10You Took My Breath Away, is not a favourite of many reviewers, they say the lyrics by Harrison are banal and are just not polished, but I don’t agree and what is for certain is that the production makes this one of the classy tracks of this Cd. Harrison shares the vocals with Jeff Lynne.

It’s certainly not an outstanding track, but then again I don’t think there is one on the second album. You make up your own mind!

You took my breath away
I want it back again
Look at the mess I’m in
I don’t know what to say

I don’t know how to feel
You don’t care anyway
All I can do is write
You took my breath away

You took this song of mine
And changed the little bit
It used to sound alright
But now the words don’t fit

It’s getting hard to rhyme
Impossible to play
I’ve tried it many times
You took my breath away

One day when the sun is shining
There will be that silver lining

You knocked my headlights out
So turn them on again
I can’t see where I’m going
I can’t tell where I’ve been

I don’t know how to feel
This hasn’t been my day
Seems like I’ve lost a wheel
You took my breath away

You took my breath away
You took my breath away
You took my breath away

You Took My Breath Away
 
From the booklet

 

Then we come to Track No.11, which is the final track from that second album, The Wilbury Twist.

This is simply a good time track that makes no big pretensions. The song was also released in March 1991 as the second single from that second album. Do not look for deep and meaningful lyrics, they are quite superficial, but deliberately so – it’s a FUN song!

Put your hand on your head
Put your foot in the air
Then you hop around the room
In your underwear
Ain’t ever been nothin quite like this
Come on baby do the wilbury twist

Lift your other foot up
and fall on your ass
Get back up
Put your teeth in a glass
Ain’t ever been nothin quite like this
It’s a magical thing called the wilbury twist

Even though I’m posting the track, do check out the video at the end of the review as well.

Wilbury Twist

From the booklet

 

I’d like to finish up the music section of this review by looking at the very final track, track # 13Runnaway.

This is a Del Shannon classic and was a #1 for him in 1961.

Jeff Lynne in fact collaborated with Del Shannon on his 1991 album titled Rock On, which lead to many (unfounded) rumours that Del Shannon would fill the late Orbison’s place in the group. But given that the collaboration actually took place just prior to Shannon’s death in 1990, it was an impossibility.

Jeff Lynne provides the lead vocals and frankly I think even the Wilburys would admit that Del sang it the best, but the backing and arrangement on the Wilburys version is fantastic.

I am so glad that they actually managed to reproduce (almost) the tinny organ sound of the original. Somehow it wouldn’t be the same way with out.

Punchy, and sung with love and enjoyment it is a fantastic conclusion to a great boxed set.

Runaway


The DVD, interestingly labelled as Disc 2 – but not Volume 2 (there never was a Volume 2), it contains six excellent clips with re-mastered sound. They are in fact a doco and five music tracks.
 

  1. The True History of the Traveling Wilburys documentary – 24 minutes
  2. “Handle With Care” (video)
  3. “End of the Line” (video)
  4. “She’s My Baby” (video)
  5. “Inside Out” (video)
  6. “Wilbury Twist” (video)


With the incredibly sad and unfortunate death of
George in November of 2001, any consideration of a live tour by the Wilburys, something that had been mooted, let alone any further recordings, was gone forever.

This was indeed a true “super-group” that came together because they respected and enjoyed playing with each other, and it is reflected in the 25 tracks of music contained in the album set.

As the liner notes in the booklet declare, “These popular songs, laments and epic heroic tales fuse together into a rhythmic and harmonic trifle that will leave a taste in your ears for days after the last diaphonic interval has departed from your CD player.”


The set is available for between $25.00 and $30.00+ on Ebay, although a boxed vinyl set will set you back around $150.00.


VIDEOS:

Video clips abound aplenty of Youtube and here are five. In the main I have chosen tracks that I have not already featured the music on.

 

Inside Out

 

She’s My Baby

 

Not Alone

 

 Wilbury Twist

 

Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

Click to open the following CD reviews:

#1. The Fugs: The Fugs First Album

#2. Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings

#3. Bob Dylan – Biograph

#4. Robin Trower – Essential

#5. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under Compilation

#6. Various Artists – The Big Ol’ Box of New Orleans

#7. Hugh Masekela – African Breeze: 80’s

#8. The Last Poets – The Very Best of the Last Poets

#9. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Down By The Riversiide

#10. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under: Vol. 2

#11. The Beatles – On Air: Live at BBC Vol.2

#12. The Rolling Stones – Singles Collection: The London Years

#13. Compilation: Girl Groups Of The Sixties

#14. The Byrds – There Is A Season [Boxed Set]

#15. Various Artists – Sixties Down Under: Volume 4

#16. Howling Wolf – The London Sessions

#17. The Who – Thirty Years of Maximum R&B

#18. Thomas Dolby – Hyperactive

#19. Various Artists – Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965 – 1970

#20. Various Artists: 60’s Down Under – Volume 4

#21. 2nu – Ponderous

#22. The Great Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds [Boxed Set]

#23. The Sue Records Story: New York City – The Sound of Soul

#24. Various Artists – The Encyclopedia of Boogie Woogie

#25. Cam-Pact – Psychedelic Pop ‘n Soul: 1967 – 1969

#26. The Clash – The Singles

#27. Arthur Brown – Fire: The Story of Arthur Brown

#28. Various Artists – Red Hot & Blue: Col Porter Tribute

#29. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Global a Go Go

#30 – Jeff St John’s Copper Wine – Joint Effort

#31 – John Lee Hooker – Boogie Man

#32. Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Airplane

#33. Various Artists – The Ultimate Guitar Survival Guide

#34. Muddy Waters – The Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues

#35. Dave Hole – The Plumber

#36. Sly & The Family Stone – Stand

#37. The Pretty Things – Latest Writes [The Best of]

#38. Fats Waller – Aint Misbehavin’

#39. The Kinks – The Ultimate Collection

#40. Ross Wilson – Now Listen (The Best of)

#41. New Riders of the Purple Sage – The Best Of

#42. Spirit – 12 Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus

#43. Women of Blue Chicago – Various Artists

#44. The Grateful Dead – American Beauty

#45. Skyhooks – The Skyhooks Tapes

#46. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – [Self Titled] Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

#47. Salif Keita – Amen

#48. Chuck Berry – One Dozen Berry’s