Black Music Matters Festival

Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection – 2011 (Sony Legacy)

Reviewed by Greg Yost

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CDs by Roy Orbison

75th birthdays are certainly celebration-worthy milestones. Legacy Recordings marks the late Roy Orbison's 75th with a noteworthy 3-disc set (2 CDs and a DVD) highlighting the original mono mixes of all of his A Sides and B sides for the Monument Records label.

Orbison got his start with Sam Phillips' Sun Records label in Memphis where he joined a roster that included Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, but the most significant recordings of his entire career came during his stint with Monument Records from 1960-1964. Although he only spent about four years with the label, Orbison produced enduring hits like Running Scared, Only The Lonely, Crying, Blue Bayou, In Dreams and of course, Oh, Pretty Woman during his tenure there.

Any decent greatest hits compilation will include all of these career-defining classics, but this set is notable because it also includes a disc of Orbison's Monument B sides. These 16 cuts, plus 3 bonus cuts, give the full picture of the incredible music Orbison generated for the label over such a short period of time.

The icing on this cake comes from the third disc - a DVD of a televised 1965 concert performance in Holland. Even though Orbison's stiff and constrained performance style was not very visually appealing, this 9-song set is historically important because it captures one of our greatest rock and roll legends in his prime.