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Roy Orbison

The Last Concert

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve never been a big fan of Roy Orbison, although I’ve always liked a lot of his songs when covered by other people. I don’t know if I’ve mellowed in terms of my tastes or what, but I really enjoyed this live disc. It was, as the title suggests, a recording of his final concert. Orbison played the big hits along with lesser known songs, too. The arrangements seem fresh and the performances inspired. It seems so appropriate that the back cover picture shows Orbison waving goodbye to the crowd.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Only The Lonely

There’s an extended introduction featuring jazz and Latin stylings and female vocalists. Eventually they move out into the song proper and it has a balladic motif.

Leah
This one is even more laid back. It’s got a definite Latin feeling to it, though.
Dream Baby
As mentioned in the overall review, I’ve never been a big Roy Orbison fan. I’ve always dug this track, though. They put in a cool rendition that’s got a lot of jazz in the mix (and perhaps even a little progressive rock).
In Dreams
While I like the keyboards on this cut, they seem a bit too high in the mix. This is another mellow tune, but the vocal arrangement is more developed and quite cool.
Mean Woman Blues
This one rocks out a bit more than some of the rest, but the overall leanings are still pretty much the same.
Blue Bayou
Here’s another classic, and it’s a safe bet that if you are reading this, you’ve heard it. I like the island feeling to the track and it’s got such a cool mellow groove.
Candyman
There’s a swinging sort of rhythm to this bluesy number. I pick up a Booker T and the MG’s vibe to a lot of it.
Crying
A balladic cut, this reminds me a little of “Blue Bayou.” The chorus is the real killer of this piece, with its rather symphonic power.
Ooby Dooby
Those familiar with the movie “Star Trek: First Contact” will certainly recognize this song as it was a favorite of Zephram Cochrane. It’s a cool rock and roll piece and works quite well in this live rendition. There’s a killer guitar solo on the cut.
Go Go Go (Down The Line)
Orbison says that this was the first song he ever wrote. This rendition must be an updated one, I would guess, because there’s a definite modern vibe to it. There is a killer instrumental section in this number with everyone in the band taking a little time to show what he or she can do.
It's Over
The keyboards feature very prominently here, but it works very well. This one is about as close to progressive rock and Orbison got. It’s one of my favorites on the set.
Workin' For The Man
The rock and roll texture on this has an almost Broadway showtune texture. This is a little odd, but also a nice change of pace.
Lana
I’m not a big fan of doo wop music, but somehow, this one works pretty well. There’s almost a country sort of rhythmic element to the piece.
Oh, Pretty Woman
It seems everyone and his brother has covered this song. Orbison is the originator, though, and puts in a killer live performance of the piece here.
 
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