You can call me a big baby...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

You can call me a big baby...

...if you want, but listening to and watching the man sing makes me feel like crying, so I was misty-eyed during PBS' showing of "Roy Orbison: Black & Night 30" this past weekend.

(PBS [Channel 13] is reprising the 90-minute concert at 1:30 am Wednesday... set your DVR timer.)

Recorded on September 30, 1987 at the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, Orbison was supported by an extraordinary array of talent, from Bruce Spring­steen and Elvis Costello to Bonnie Rait and k.d. lang, plus Elvis Presley's reformed TCB Band.

Orbison played guitar (and sometimes harmonica), but his best instrument was his voice which ranged from baritone to tenor across an almost operatic three-to-four octave range, and on songs like "Only the Lonely" and "Crying," he can raise gooseflesh on my arms.

Although I didn't really appreciate his unique vocal artistry 'til much later, I was a a fan from the jump, with his first Sun Records release, "Ooby Dooby" which I used to sing to my infant daughter while changing her ten years later.

(The flip side of that Sun 45 rpm, "Go Go Go (Move On Down The Line)" was also popular back in '56.)

Orbison's popularity lasted for more than 30 years, peaking in 1964 with his biggest hit, "Oh, Pretty Woman." And 1986 saw a resurgeance of his 1963 hit "In Dreams" when Dean Stockwell lip-synched to it in David Lynch's outré "Blue Velvet."

In the last year of his life, he gained new fans as one of the Traveling Wilburys "super group" alongside George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. There were two well-produced videos, "Handle With Care" and, post­humously, the touching "End Of The Line" with a gently moving rocking chair containing Orbison's Gibson guitar.

Hard to keep a dry eye.


1. Fjmarkowitz said...

The man was a musical genius. Bet he could have been an opera singer if he wished to.

Dunno about that... hard to imagine him making his way around the stage at the Met without his milk bottle-bottom glasses.

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