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CD review: 'Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection'

Published: Thursday, April 14 2011 6:03 p.m. MDT

THE MONUMENT SINGLES COLLECTION (2 CD/1 DVD), Roy Orbison (Sony Legacy)

As a stage performer, Roy Orbison was an excellent singer.

He had a unique sound that grabs at your heart.

That's obvious when looking at his track (pun intended) record. Orbison had hits before The Beatles and more hits after The Beatles. He had two albums in the Billboard Top 5 when he died in 1988.

"Pretty Woman" again topped the charts in 1990 after becoming the No. 1 song in virtually every country after its release in 1964. Orbison had two posthumous hit singles, "You Got It" and "I Drove All Night." His star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.

But he'd never make it today working a concert crowd. Although he creates music that's unbelievably sweet and heady, the man just stands there in classic Orbison style. A lifted eyebrow, a slight grin and maybe a faint rock motion is all you get. The "Saturday Night Live" skits weren't making this up.

There was no patter, no joking, no asides to the audience about the town he's in or how it's going.

If you buy the "Monument Collection," don't watch the DVD of his concert in Holland in 1965. Just enjoy the cuts as they were originally recorded and are now being released to celebrate Orbison's 75th birthday.

There are plenty of memorable favorites on the "A" sides disc: "Only the Lonely," "Running Scared," "It's Over," "Crying" and, of course, "Pretty Woman."

There is actually a fair number of the "B" side songs that made it big despite being recorded on the "other" side of the record — "Today's Teardrops," "Love Hurts," "Mean Woman Blues" and "Shahdaroba."

A couple of the bonus tracks are great as well, such as "Paper Boy" and "Pretty Paper."

For the Orbison fan, this is a collection to own just because most of the best songs are in one place. It also preserves the integrity of the original sound mix.

The two-CD/one-DVD collection is available now. The "A" sides will also be released on a single CD.

Sharon Haddock is a professional freelance writer with 30 years of experience, 17 of those at the Deseret News. Reach her at haddoc@desnews.com or see her personal blog at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

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