Pop/Rock Review: Roy Orbison-Mystery Girl Deluxe

Release Date: May 19, 2014 
Label: Legacy

“The Big O” Roy Orbison is sorely missed. We could use a true star and talent like him to right the radio waves these days. His life was cut short but his legend continues to live on and gather momentum with each passing day. Mystery Girl was the album that reinvigorated Roy and was the beginning of new phase of his long and successful career. Unfortunately he was not around long enough to enjoy the success of the recording.

Mystery Girl Deluxe has been released by Legacy Music as a deluxe package with bonus tracks and a DVD. It will mark the 25th Anniversary of its release.

Much like The Traveling Wilbury’s that Roy was part of, the session brought together a cavalcade of stars such as George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, Tom Petty and others to make an already incredible talent more appealing. It was not like he needed the help; it was more the fact that everyone wanted to be involved with the man’s process. Who can blame them? He was revered and idolized by fans and peers alike and for good reason. His voice was a gift from heaven and his music and voice would just sweep you away with its emotion and beauty.

Mystery Girl – Deluxe brings together the album’s original 10 songs, including the hit single “You Got It,” in addition to premiering nine previously unreleased studio and work-tape demos. That lead off track always gives me the chills when I hear it. He was the master of the pure pop rock song. Among those reworked tracks is “The Way Is Love,” featuring a newly restored Orbison vocal track layered with contemporary guitar, drum and vocal accompaniment by Roy’s three sons (Roy Jr., Alex and Wesley, who all add their commentary on the DVD). The package also includes “Mystery Girl: Unraveled,” a new one-hour documentary chronicling the song-by-song creation of Mystery Girl through rare and intimate archival footage and the memories of those who were there. In addition to the “Mystery Girl: Unraveled” documentary, the DVD includes eight Roy Orbison music videos, four of which are previously unreleased including a piece documenting the renewal and rebirth of “The Way Is Love.” This is a tremendous additional to the Orbison catalog and the accompanying booklet and DVD shed light on how people felt about him as a performer and person. I can you tell this, I have never heard a bad thing said about the man.

Some humorous conversations come about with the stars that worked with him. Tom Petty for instance mentioned when they were in the studio, Roy leaned over and whispered in his ear “I have some Cherry Coke for us.” He was a simple man that treated everyone with respect and kindness while everyone around him was in awe of his talents. It did not change him one bit. In essence Roy’s music was a direct reflection of the beautiful soul that was inside the man.

“(All I Can Do Is) Dream You” is great track as well and it sounds as wonderful today as when it was first released. “A Love So Beautiful” is perhaps the most emotional and touching track showcasing that gorgeous falsetto of Orbison’s. His voice was instrument all by itself and I do not think there was ever any one like him nor will there ever be again. Listening to this release makes one realize that fact without a doubt.

“California Blue” is another one of my favorites along with the title track. Music does not get any better than this. All the elements that make the experience magical-great lyrics, fine musicianship, and one incredible vocalist completing the package are ever present. A lot has to be said for the excellent collaborations that Orbison engineered. How can one go wrong when you have George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty involved?

Roy Orbison gave us all so much while losing so much during his life. It’s a wonder he was able to carry on and be successful after what happened to him. I think the good lord took him away because he had suffered enough emotional pain. What he left us was some of the most amazing music humanity has ever had the pleasure to hear. This is a beautiful set that you must have if you are a Big O fan or can appreciate finely crafted pop-rock songs. This is one group of tracks that offers listeners everything they could possibly expect from a legendary artist and more.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: You Got It, (All I Can Do Is) Dream You, A Love So Beautiful

You Got It

(Jeff Lynne/Roy Orbison/Tom Petty)

In The Real World

(W. Jennings/R. Kerr)

(All I Can Do Is) Dream You

(B. Burnett/D. Malloy)

A Love So Beautiful

(J. Lynne/R. Orbison)

California Blue

(R. Orbison/J. Lynne/T. Petty)

She’s A Mystery To Me

(David Evans/Paul Hewson)

The Comedians

(Elvis Costello)

The Only One

(Wesley Orbison/Craig Wiseman)


(R. Orbison/B. Dees)

Careless Heart

(Roy Orbison/Diane Warren/Albert Hammond)

Bonus Songs:

The Way Is Love (unreleased with new instruments and vocals)

She’s A Mystery To Me (Studio demo with Bono)

(All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Studio Demo)

The Only One (Studio Demo)

The Comedians (Studio Demo)

In The Real World (Studio Demo)

California Blue (Studio Demo)

Windsurfer (Work-tape Demo)

You Are My Love (Work-tape Demo)

Mystery Girl – Deluxe bonus DVD content

“Mystery Girl:  Unraveled”

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

May 27, 2014


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