The Roy Orbison Official Authorized Bootleg Collection
HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED. Bootleggers of music, once reviled as thieves of intellectual property, are now being recognized as archivists, Bob Dylan’s “Royal Albert Hall” concert of 1966 being the most notable example. Now comes one of Texas’ genuine legends, Roy Orbison, whose voice was regarded by many as the finest and most versatile ever in either rockabilly or rock and roll (check out the high notes he hits on the last line of “It’s Over”), with The Roy Orbison Official Authorized Bootleg Collection, a four- CD set of live performances initially captured on tape under less-than-official circumstances.
Three of the recordings were made in England in 1969, 1975, and 1980; the other is a 1980 performance in Birmingham, Alabama. All have been decently remastered, and all are eminently listenable, which means you get four pretty good versions of “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “Running Scared,” “It’s Over,” and his biggest hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman.” The first record is the most intriguing, mainly because the performance is padded with interpretations of “Break My Mind,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” “Money,” and perhaps the weirdest cover of Orbison’s career, “Help Me Rhonda.” The others, well, they’re all Roy Orbison performances, which is the draw, but none really stands out.
As for presenting a complete picture of his career, the collection necessarily falls short, considering there’s no wildcat version of Orbison back when he was a Sun Records labelmate with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, no snapshot of the maturing Orbison, and nothing from the end of his career. On top of that, the included merchandise catalog (Orbison caps! Orbison T-shirts!) makes me wonder if enrichment of the estate was the higher priority in this project. Since the fans kept the flame burning long before the estate did, they’re the ones most likely to add this collection to their collection. Frankly, they deserve better. Joe Nick Patoski
Oh Yes My Friend
Nickel & Dime Records
SUPEREGO’S PAUL MINOR has been holding court at Austin’s Hole in the Wall every Sunday night since 1994. The Rock and Roll Free-for-All, as the hootenanny is aptly named, is a cross between the Band’s Last Waltz and the Gong Show, with Superego serving as the house band. For many acts, performing there has become a rite of passage, and some, like Spoon, the Damnations TX, and Fastball, have graduated to the major leagues. Superego’s third release, Oh Yes My Friend, is as sprawling as the Free-for-All, a patchwork quilt stitched together with the help of some of the musicians (from Fastball, Sixteen Deluxe, and the Meat Puppets) who’ve shared the Hole in the Wall’s stage. Minor is seemingly influenced by everything: There’s the bossa nova—esque opener “Misery Date,” the candy-metal double entendres of “Tulips,” the lilting barroom country of “Lagniappe,” and the loose-limbed take on Archie Bell’s “The Tighten Up.” Despite the stylistic hopscotch, Oh Yes My Friend is a surprisingly focused collection of Minor’s pop-inflected songs and an extension of the camaraderie that glues Austin’s music community together—well, at least at the Rock and Roll Free-for-All on Sunday night. (Available at www.io.com/~superego.) Luann Williams
IF EVER A CASE WAS TO BE MADE against the East Coast prejudice that dominates the American jazz scene, Dallas’ Marchel Ivery would be first on the docket. For the fortunate who heard his tardy 1994 debut, Ivery’s fervid tenor work seemed to spring full-blown from the ether, yet the veteran saxophonist has