In Dreams (Reissue)

Roy Orbison

Monument Legacy, 2006

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Two years ago the Legacy Label had the good sense and taste to begin issuing the Roy Orbison Monument label album catalogue. These CD reissues of Roy Orbison’s long out-of-print albums provided a deeper look into the Orbison legacy than just his continually over-released greatest hits.

Lonely and Blue, which I reviewed last year, presented Roy Orbison at the beginning of his career trying to find his musical niche. In Dreams, Roy Orbison’s third album release, finds a mature artist ready to embark on the classic four years (1963-1966) that would form the foundation of his hall of fame career.


Roy Orbison was one of very few rock artists at the time to center himself in the country music capital of Nashville. While his sound in 1963 was far removed from a classic country sound, he nevertheless surrounded himself with many of the best country session musicians of the day. This album features such country music stalwarts as Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, Charlie McCoy, Bob Moore and others.

In Dreams is a ballad album. Its centerpieces are “Blue Bayou’ and “In Dreams.” “Blue Bayou” remains one of Roy Orbison’s signature vocal performances, ending with his clear tenor voice rising and rising until you think it can’t go any higher and then it does. “In Dreams” just flows smoothly along with a somewhat slow, staccato beat.

Other highlights include what was the forgotten flip side of the “In Dreams” single release, “Shahdaroba,” which was a unique Orbison creation in that it has almost a Middle Eastern feel and beat. This song has been under the Orbison radar for too long and it’s nice to hear it resurrected and cleaned up. “Beautiful Dreamer” was another single B-side and also fits his sweet tenor voice well. The old Everly Brothers hit “All I Have To Do Is Dream” is given an interesting solo treatment by Orbison.

The four bonus tracks are outstanding as well. “Falling” and the Willie Nelson penned Christmas song “Pretty Paper” were both pop hits for Orbison and fit into the ballad motif of the album. Likewise, “Distant Drums” is another excellent ballad that highlights Orbison’s ability to build a song. The other bonus track, “Mean Woman Blues,” almost knocks the listener out of his or her seat. After a string of ballads this up-tempo rockabilly number shows the other side of Roy Orbison’s musical persona and serves as a reminder that “Pretty Woman” and other rocking songs are still to come.

Some may find In Dreams a bit too mellow but overall, it stands as the best of the early Roy Orbison albums, finding one of the early pioneers of rock and roll at his creative and vocal best.

Rating: A

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