Photography of me & my sis (on the left) with our neighbors by my mom (I presume).. oh, and that’s her old white toyota way in the back… when it stopped working her brother helped her pull the engine, put it in our kitchen where she then took it apart and put it back together again, and yeah, it ran for a lot longer!
…Oh my, this one takes me back. Sometimes a song pops in your head, who knows how, who knows why, from a time long gone and for no apparent reason. When that happens, when a crusty old grey-haired earworm awakes from the depths of your cranium, there’s only one thing to do…. Go get that album and listen to it, right?
And so it was yestermorning when I woke up and lard knows why but somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45am, “She’s A Mystery To Me” by Roy Orbison of his last proper album, Mystery Girl, flooded my mind.
It was 1988, I was just another oddball 15 year old still riding high on a Traveling Wilburys obsession when Roy Orbison died. I can’t say, at the time, I was a Orbison fan. He was definitely my favourite Wilbury and I did just start the process of digging into his back catalogue when the cover of Rolling Stone had his RIP album cover showed up at the local 7-Eleven…
Then the video of “End Of The Line” came out, featuring a photo of Orbison in a rocking chair.
As sad as it was, the following year, we got Roy Orbison’s last proper album and the insanely easy & fun & perfectly modern yet completely Orbison single, “You Got It”. The song sounded like a lost Wilbury track, it was even penned by Lynne & Petty (with Roy).
As sweet and awesome as that song was, it was just the touch of the ghostly man in black’s iceberg! Bono & The Edge help out on the earworm song, Costello penned “The Comedians”, but in the end, as varied yet easy as this album is, it’s that voice, that haunting, written about a billion times voice that ties it all together. Whether he’s wistfully singing about a windsurfer or commiserating about how his woman totally screwed him over while stuck way up high on a ferris wheel — seriously, leaving him way up on the ferris wheel, until after the park closes and you leave with another man? That is fucked. up.
One of my faves, “The Only One”, oh man. Filled with cliches after cliches, then a biting chorus, swarming in sarcasm, “You’re the only one, with a broken heart, the only one who’s afraid of the dark, the only one in a crowded room, the only one who sees a blue moon, the only one who is all alone, the only one who’s love is gone, the only one who’s given in, and the only one who will give again”… Hot damn. How self-centered was she?
There are songs about dreams (of course), about love & loss, about life, it’s, to me, the ultimate Roy Orbison album, perfect & timeless and thankfully part of my life for over 20 years! Time to make it part of yours…
Speaking of cliches, yeah, I went there…
2. “In the Real World”
3. “(All I Can Do Is) Dream You”
4. “A Love So Beautiful”
5. “California Blue”
6. “She’s a Mystery to Me”
7. “The Comedians”
8. “The Only One”
10. “Careless Heart”