Title - 'The Traveling Wilburys Collection' (Rhino)
Artist - The Traveling Wilburys
What I think made the Traveling Wilburys so special was the spontaneous formation of these 5 über-rockers. George Harrison, wanting a little help for an extra track for his single This Is Love, got much more than just a B-side in what I consider one of the best pop rock songs of the 80's: Handle With Care. An idea for album followed, and these extremely talented lyrcists formed a superb collection of tracks which would become Traveling Wilburys Volume 1. There isn't a bad song in Volume 1, and it's no wonder it's listed as one of Rolling Stones 100 greatest albums of all time.
After Handle With Care, which needs no introduction, we get Bob Dylan's sexually suggestive rocker, Dirty World, followed by the country sounding Rattled, voiced by Jeff Lynne. On an album full of staggering hits, Rattled may very well be decent elsewhere, but may be my choice for the weakest of this album, if it's even right to call any of these songs weak on here. The catchiest track of the album, Last Night is probably the next strongest song off the album, although Roy turns in a stunner with Not Alone Any More right after it. The album continues with the guys taking vocal and writing turns, and originally ended with End Of The Line.
I know some people may still feel volume 1 is superior, and considering the price of this set, and how much they can probably go out and get the out of print Volume 1 once this collection hits, some may be considering just finding the first Volume cheap. Well, one very strong argument not to get the original is that you are missing out on the George Harrison song Maxine. It's vintage George and it's a shock that this never made it on an album. It's a great never officially released song that every Harrison fan should have. Like a Ship is decent, but it's Maxine that makes these Bonus Tracks on Vol. 1 so special.
While there are two unofficial Volume 2's (a bootleg containing demos and extended tracks; and Full Moon Fever, Tom Petty's album where George, Roy, and Jeff collaborated) Disc 2 in this collection is the DVD, which features a 25 minute documentary shot in 1988 which covers the formation of the band and their work on some of the album's songs, including Tweeter and the Monkey Man. It also includes all of the band's 5 videos. The picture quality is fairly sharp, however I am not convinced they were digitally remastered. I liked all the videos, with maybe the exception of the Wilbury Twist, which seemed to be the End of the video artistic Line for the band, as it was a little on the dull side. The End of the Line with the band playing while traveling on a train is probably my next favorite after Handle With Care, which has to be the best just based on Roy's slight head bobbing up and down when he first comes in to full camera view to start singing his part. A nice Roy touch to the video, to go with his immense contribution to the song.
Disc 3 is Volume 3, and the second album released by the now quartet, with the missing and sadly departed Roy Orbison. Some say this lost a little magic for Volume 3, however we get some final great songs from the band. Their single She's My Baby starts it off, followed by my pick for the best song of the album, the harmony filled Inside Out, which features an almost Beatles like 60's chorus and lyrics, albeit with a touch of Tom's unique voice thrown in to give it an updated twist. Bob Dylan is featured prominently over the next several tracks, including If You Belonged to Me, which is all his vocals, and my second best pick off this album, Where Were You Last Night, which features George and Bob taking turns with the vocals. Two 50's sounding rockers are featured in New Blue Moon and 7 Deadly Sins, the humorous country tune Poor House, and the somewhat silly new dance called the Wilbury Twist. Rounding out my 3 top picks off this album is Tom featuring on the song Cool Dry Place. It's a more subdued sounding Tom that sounds great. The bonus tracks on this album are a big treat as well, with George, Bob, and Tom all taking turns singing on Nobody's Child, a poignant song about orphans, and what is probably Jeff's best vocal contribution on either disc, the Del Shannon remake Runaway. Another reason to pick up this new collection.
This is overall a fine slice of 80's rock history, and a complete showcase all in one place, for a very shortlived but now legendary band. All their videos, all their songs, plus a few extra bonuses, make this set a no-brainer. Don't even think about taking the cheap way out and going for the old CD's, as you'll be missing out.