Title - 'Unchained Melodies: Volume 2' [2LP Vinyl]
Artist - Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
This highly-anticipated follow-up to last year's well-received A Love So Beautiful, once again features stellar Roy Orbison vocal performances with brand-new orchestral arrangements by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released November 23rd, 2018 through Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings in partnership with Roy’s Boys LLC (the Nashville-based company founded by Roy Orbison’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy), this rather terrific new 2LP vinyl album also features additional accompaniment from Roy's three sons and backing vocals from their wives and children.
1. 'Unchained Melody'
2. 'Blue Bayou'
3. 'She's a Mystery to Me'
4. 'Heartbreak Radio'
2. 'Walk On'
3. 'The Great Pretender'
1. 'The Crowd'
2. 'The Comedians'
3. 'Crawling Back'
1. 'Danny Boy'
2. 'Too Soon to Know'
3. 'Careless Heart'
4. 'California Blue'
Unchained Melodies once again features the production team of Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, the very same duo behind the successful release of both If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
With last year’s A Love So Beautiful focused on Orbison's hits, this follow-up is more attune to those of his secondary tracks that always sounded like they could be enhanced within an orchestral format.
Indeed, as both 'Unchained Melody' and 'Blue Bayou' are playing on the turntable (which, in truth and as we all know, is the only way to listen to vinyl) as I type, and my mind is caught between thinking and listening; and yet always flashing back to an era when Orbison ruled the airwaves, it's interesting to know that some of these glorious tracks were actually included as the result of a poll.
Which I think is rather lovely, that his fans get to choose which songs of his they would appreciate hearing done with an orchestral vibe on this terrific salute to the great man.
With that in mind, the aforementioned 'Blue Bayou' was in that recognized Top 6, along with 'Walk On,' 'Leah,' 'Crawling Back,' 'Danny Boy' and the lush 'California Blue.'
On an album chock full of incredible Orbison musical memories, the stand out tracks for me personally include the trio of the aforementioned 'Crawling Back,' his soaring 'The Great Pretender' and a rockin' 'Heartbreak Radio' (once complete with my favorite singer of all time, ELO's Jeff Lynne, backing him).
But lest we forget the subtle beauty of a smooth 'She's A Mystery To Me,' the euphoric 'Falling,' the Bavarianesque 'The Crowd,' and both the very Christmasy pairing of 'The Comedians' and then the sensationally beautiful, and over six minutes long, 'Danny Boy.'
With the 14-track double vinyl album representing his work from sessions in both 1963 and 1988 (just before his untimely passing in December of that year), Unchained Melodies is a collection of Orbison hits that not only have stood the test of time, but where the RHO have, without a shadow of a doubt, lovingly recreated new soundscapes to adorn them all.
That said, please know that the only track missing from this 2LP set (but is included on the CD/digital editions of the album, is an alternate version of 'Heartbreak Radio' (from his posthumous album, King of Hearts), that features a virtual collaboration between Roy and country music sensation CAM.
The California-born singer/songwriter emerged as a breakthrough artist with her international hit 'Burning House,' which garnered CAM her first platinum record, #1 country single, and Grammy® Award nomination for Best Country Solo Performance.
"It's nice that we get to have Cam sing on the new record,” said Wesley Orbison. “'Heartbreak Radio' sounds like a new, fresh track, which it is. She really brings a terrific energy to it – just so bright and creative."
Available on CD and digital formats on November 16th, and my personal favorite, this wondrous double vinyl LP on this just-past November 23rd, this brand-new album truly infuses Orbison’s best original vocal performances with the emotion and world-class musicianship of the RPO; London’s most notable orchestra.
Watch video about the making of Unchained Melodies: Roy Orbison with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!