A posthumous musical collaboration between Roy Orbison and three of his sons will be included on a 25thanniversary reissue of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter’s final studio album, “Mystery Girl.”
The deluxe reissue is due May 20 and in addition to the album’s original 10 tracks will include previously unreleased studio tracks and working demo recordings. It also will come with a “making-of” documentary “Mystery Girl: Unraveled” on DVD exploring the creation of that album and the new cross-generational track “The Way of Love” featuring Roy’s original vocals accompanied by harmonies and instrumental backing provided by Roy Jr., Alex and Wesley Orbison.
"Cutting a track with my brothers was more incredible than I can describe," Alex Orbison said in a statement. "I have been looking forward to this for my entire life."
His brother, Roy Jr., added that "More or less the reason Alex and Wesley and I are musicians was to play in Dad's band when we got older" and Wesley summed it up nicely, "I think we really got something special."
Coming at the pinnacle of a latter-day career resurgence fueled by his role in the rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, “Mystery Girl” reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1989, shortly after the singer’s death on Dec. 6, 1988, from a heart attack. The album eventually sold more than 1 million copies.
In fact, Harrison, Petty, Lynne, U2 singer Bono, Heartbreakers members Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein, producer T Bone Burnett, Al Kooper and guitarist Steve Cropper were on board during the recording of “Mystery Girl,” which featured new songs by Orbison himself, Costello, Bono, Diane Warren, Wesley Orbison and others.
Beyond the attention focused on Orbison’s soaring tenor voice by the Wilburys porject, he also had gotten his music and his face in front of audiences once again in the 1980s thanks to the prominent use of “In Dreams” in David Lynch’s 1986 film, “Blue Velvet,” and because of a 1988 Cinemax cable special “Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night.”
For that event, filmed in Los Angeles, Orbison sang many of his signature hits accompanied by an all-star band that included Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, J.D. Souther, Jennifer Warnes, k.d. lang and the TCB Band that had backed Elvis Presley in his final years.
The album also will be released in an audio-only 15-track expanded edition. Last fall his 1989 hits compilation "In Dreams: The Greatest Hits," for which he re-recorded his 1950s and 1960s hits using modern technology to improve the sound, was reissued by Sony Legacy.
"He was a real innovator, truly a great singer," Bono said, also in a statement. "The real rebels to me always had manners. Elvis, you know, and Roy, Roy was a true gentleman. And that's a scary thing in a man, do you know what I mean? A man that's so sure in himself that he can be polite."
Guitarist Cropper, who played with Booker T. & the MG’s and in the studio with hundreds of rock, R&B and soul musicians over more than half a century, said, "I've only met basically three, maybe 3 1/2, of what I call 'light bulbs' in my life.
“And what I mean by 'light bulbs' is they're the brightest one in the room, and when they walk in the door every head turns,” he said. “Every head. Not just a few, not some people still talking in the corner. It's like everyone stops what they are doing. Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and Roy Orbison. And I saw that happen to Bill Clinton. So, there you go, and I've never seen that happen to anybody else, ever."
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