The Traveling Wilburys Collection (2 CD + DVD Box Set)

Traveling Wilburys

Concord Bicycle Music, 2016

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury became a true super group. Lucky (Bob Dylan), Nelson (George Harrison, Otis (Jeff Lynne), Lefty (Roy Orbison), and Charlie Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty) came together as an accident, released two albums (one after Orbison’s death in December of 1988), and then disbanded.

Harrison, producer Lynne, along with Orbison and Petty gathered in the studio to record a B-side to Harrison’s single “This Is Love.” The resultant song “Handle With Care” was so good that it was decided to release it on its own under the Traveling Wilburys moniker complete with fictitious names. Dylan later joined to make the group a quintet. Jim Keltner (under the name Buster Sidebury) was the drummer.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The result of all the tongue-in-cheek shenanigans was some of the best pure rock/pop of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their entire catalogue has now been released as a two CD and 1 DVD box set titled The Traveling Wilburys Collection.

From pieces of pop heaven such as “Handle With Care,” “End Of The Line,” and “She’s My Baby” to the quirky “Wilbury Twist” and “Tweeter And The Monkey Man,” this release is a journey through the best pop music has to offer. Their first album, featuring Orbison’s soaring voice, finds them at their best, but everything here is above the norm.

Jeff Lynne is a master producer, and their sound was always clear and crisp and remains so on this release. Meanwhile, the accompanying booklet is extensive. The DVD presents a history of the band and takes the listener back a quarter of a century to where everyone looks a lot younger – and in the case of Orbison and Harrison, when everyone was still alive.

The Traveling Wilburys was a short-term project by five superstars. In some ways, I can’t help but think the other four wanted to play with Orbison as the band only carried on for one more album following his death. They left behind a stunning collection of well-crafted music that represented a unique and creative career stop for the musicians involved. This release is highly recommended for any fan of American rock and roll.

Rating: A-

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