Bob Dylan on Roy… From Bob's the New Bestseller, Chronicles - Volume One" "I was always fishing for something on the radio. Just like trains and bells, it was the soundtrack to my life. I moved the dial up and down and Roy Orbison's voice came blasting out of the small speakers. His new song "Running Scared" exploded into the room. Lately, I'd been listening for songs with folk connotations. There had been some in the past: “Big Bad John,” “Michael Row the Boar Ashore,” “A Hundred Pounds of Clay,” Brook Benton had made “Boll Weevil” a contemporary hit. I liked the Kingston Trio. Even though their style was polished and collegiate, I liked most of their stuff anyway, Songs like “Getaway John,” “Remember the Alamo,” “Long Black Rifle.” There was always some kind of folk type song breatking through, “Endless Sleep,” the Jodie Reynolds song that had been popular years before, had even been folk in character. Orbison, though transcended all the genres-- folk, country, rock & roll or just about anything. His stuff mixed all the styles and some that hadn't even been invented yet." "He could sound mean and nasty on one line and then sing in a falsetto like Frankie Valli in thenext. With Roy, you didn't know if you were listening to mariachi or opera. He kept you on your toes. With him, it was all about fat and blood. He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop and he meant business." One of his early songs, “Ooby Dooby”, had been popular way previously, but this new song of his was nothing like that. “Ooby Dooby” was deceptively simple, but Roy had progressed. He was now singing his compositions in three and four octaves that made you want to drive your car off a cliff. He sang like a professional criminal. Typically, he'd start out in some low, barely audible range, stay there a while and then astonishingly slip into histrionics. Hisvoice could jar a corpse, always leaving you muttering something to yourself like, "Man, I don't believe it." His songs had songs within songs. They shifted from major to minor key without any logic. Orbison was deadly serious--- no pollywog or fledgling juvenile. There wasn't anything else on the radio like him. I'd listen and wait for another song, but next to Roy the playlist was strictly dullsville...gutless and flabby."

- bill 7-15-2011 3:19 pm

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