The Wilburys were to release two albums of original compositions during their brief time together. While both are clearly more than a respectable listen, the first one is unanimously hailed as the Traveling Wilburys album.
Topping and tailing the record are the two tunes in which every member sings something at a point or other of the song. These are the Harrison-penned “Handle With Care” and the country-happy “End Of The Line”. The former seems like a combination made in heaven, as Harrison basically sings the lead during the verses, and then Roy Orbison sings a bridge that leads into a sing-along chorus by the rest of the band. Orbison’s contribution (a quavering plea) is a moment which moves me personally, and I bet many of those who listen to the song feel the same way. On the other hand, “End Of The Line” is a very uplifting way to close the record, and its message of optimism is all the more compelling because it feels incredible genuine – even Dylan sings like he truly means it. And those might as well have been his darkest years, keep that in mind.
Speaking of Dylan, he contributes a narrative which resembles “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” in terms of content and “Hurricane” in terms of structure. It is named “Tweeter And The Monkey Man”, and some fans go as far as to call it one of his best songs from the period. The song is the penultimate track on the album, and it is the one and only composition that goes over the 5.00 mark. The rest all clock at 3.00 on average. Continue reading →
The Traveling Wilburys have gone down in history as one of the most enjoyable and – above all – genuine supergroups ever. The key to their appeal might lie in the fact that the five band members were excellent friends who knew how to collaborate and complement each other’s musical stance, stopping exactly at the line that separated one from the other. They worked with each other without intruding an inch, and without giving an inch. Such chemistry is rare, and the fact that five different individuals could have it at the same time goes some way into explaining the Wilburys’ effectiveness.
Everybody knows who they are, but in case you are just discovering them: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.
They came together when Harrison needed to record a B-side, and the resulting song (“Handle With Care”) was something that even the biggest undiscerning person in the industry would have regarded as far, far more than a B-side. Two full-length collaborations were to ensue, titled “Volume I” and “Volume III”. Continue reading →