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Released - October 25, 1990 On Wilbury Records. Produced by Jeff Lynne & George Harrison
Bob Dylan (as
- Lead & Backing Vocals,
Vocal Sample, Acoustic
Jim Keltner - Drums
All songs written by the Traveling Wilburys.......Lead Vocal Credits listed next to song title below.
An album and a group that came about by accident, all because Warner Bros. turned down George Harrison's song "Handle with Care" as a "C" side for his Cloud Nine release. Jeff Lynne, leader of the late Electric Light Orchestra, had already been working with him on the album, and in time Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison joined in and the last of the rock super groups was formed. But since they all were signed to different record labels, and getting permission to play together took it's time, they recorded under the alias of "The Wilbury Brothers", and not only kept the names they all chose for the recording, but their real names are nowhere to be found on the album's sleeve (if that wasn't enough, on their next album - Vol. 3, they all had different first names!).
Volume One starts off with the Harrison's reject song "Handle with Care", but why the hell was this little gem ever turned down by his label in the first place? It's one of the best songs on the album, with Orbison's vocal sample, along with Petty and Lynne's harmonies fitting in with Harrison's lead vocal just fine. Next up is Dylan's "Dirty World", another winner, in part thanks to a little help from the others on backing vocals. Dylan's raspy vocals on this album are even more rough sounding than normal, even for him, yet they fit in and sound fine overall.
The 1950's rock sounding song "Rattled" is next, written and sung by Lynne, not one of the best songs found on here, but still a better than average rocker. Then we get to hear "Last Night", my favorite tune on the album; it features Petty on lead, with the rest lending a helping hand.
Roy Orbison was the best vocalist in the Wilburys, the dude could sing like no other in rock, period. You sometimes had to wonder how he could sing at such a high pitch and still sound so damn good. Sadly, he died of a heart attack a month after this album was released. We get to hear him sing the lead on "Not Alone Anymore", his vocals alone on this one are why it is a better than average song.
The Dylan song "Congratulations" is next, and the best of the bunch from him. As it was, Dylan contributed more songs than anyone else to Volume One. This is followed by Harrison's "Heading for the Light", I rate this song the lowest one on the album, but it's still a good song. Track eight is "Margarita", pretty much a sing-along, as everybody gets a chance to sing the lead on this one.
The last two songs to close out the album are both classics. We first hear the best written song on the album, courtesy of Dylan - figures. "Tweeter And The Monkey Man" tells a far-out story about a couple who were drug pushers, and the undercover cop who had been after the Monkey Man since his childhood - and who has a sister, Jan, who always loved the Monkey Man. Kind of a twisted story, with Tweeter being a transsexual Viet Nam Vet. The song also pays homage to several of Bruce Springsteen's songs - with their titles cleverly hidden in the lyrics. But it all makes for a great song! The album's closer is the fantastic "End of the Line", with everybody but Dylan taking a turn on the lead vocals here, a top notch song to end a top notch album.
Some super groups didn't always work out, but this one sure did, even if they never did play a live gig, this album is a keeper, for sure!
- Keno, 2004
To listen to some soundclips from TRAVELING WILBURYS, Vol 1 or to purchase it, click on: The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1
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