DVD, 2-CD set review for Roy Orbison’s “The Monument Singles Collection”

Roy Orbison Monument recordingsBy Gillian G. Gaar

Roy Orbison, “The Monument Singles Collection”
Monument/Orbison Records/Legacy (88697 84158 2)
Grade: *****

This collection was released in honor of Roy Orbison’s 75th birthday. The A-sides of 20 of Orbison’s classic singles recorded for Monument during the 1960s are one disc; the second is comprised of B-sides.

Songs like “Only The Lonely,” “Crying,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman,” are instantly recognizable; the fun is in discovering (or rediscovering) what lay on the flip side of these records. “Pretty One” opens with a haunting acapella passage; “Mean Woman Blues” is Orbison’s lively take on a song originally featuring in Elvis Presley’s film “Loving You”; “Mama,” about a young man who calls his mother after another heartbreak, is plaintive, but not maudlin.

Best of all, the music is presented in rich mono. The two-CD set also comes with a DVD, featuring a brief performance for Dutch television from 1965. It’s surprisingly static; Orbison stands stock still most of the time, though his legs do start jiggling during the faster numbers. The formally attired audience (the young men wear suits and ties) is equally polite, though the applause is nonetheless enthusiastic. It’s the first time this show has been released in its entirety since its original air date. That may be reason enough for collectors to pick up this set.

(Discover Sun Records, the label Roy Orbison rocked before arriving at Monument)

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