Artist: Roy Orbison
Released: 1963 on Monument Records
Dear beloved readers, do you remember how I mentioned liking musicians that possessed emotional bombast in their work? Roy Orbison suits this description to a T.
The first song that made me fall in love was I Can’t Stop Loving You – listen to it now, and the full force of it – three minutes of yearning and regret – simply hits you in the face. If you’re a young, waspish teen or twenty-something you would probably find Roy Orbison’s records among your parents’ dusty vinyl. However, I can guarantee you this: his work is timeless. Go and dig them out. Listen to them. Weep. Or just bask in wonder.
When people talk about Orbison, he is famous for several things: his tremulous, melodramatic three-octave voice, along with the slicked-back duck’s ass hairdo, cherry-red Gibson ES-355, Ray-Ban shades and dark suits. And “Oh, Pretty Woman”.
Every song on In Dreams is a carefully crafted gem. Swooping orchestral arrangements, closely miked female voices, the lightest touch of Spanish guitar…thankfully, it doesn’t tip over into overt sentiment or soppy territory.
On the self-titled song Orbison’s voice soars along with the strings with jubilant gusto at 2:17 , while Blue Bayou has the best female backing voices I’ve ever heard – warm, syrupy and very alluring. For the ones who gripe about Orbison being too depressing, Sunset is a toe-tapper with its swing-esque piano, with the strings and backing vocals exploding together in chorus. The production on the album is fantastic – the one I have is the Monument Record remaster. The sound is just the right loudness, and the glorious sound envelops you if you listen with external speakers.
I highly recommend this to Orbison beginners. Only The Lonely isn’t the best place to start in my opinion, because Orbison’s yearning starts getting dreary in the middle of the album from having too many songs on it.
Here’s a sample of one of my favourites, Blue Bayou!