- “Handle with Care” – 3:20
- “Dirty World” – 3:30
- “Rattled” – 3:00
- “Last Night” – 3:48
- “Not Alone Any More” – 3:24
- “Congratulations” – 3:30
- “Heading for the Light” – 3:37
- “Margarita” – 3:15
- “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” – 5:30
- “End of the Line” – 3:30
- “She’s My Baby” – 3:14
- “Inside Out” – 3:36
- “If You Belonged To Me” – 3:13
- “The Devil’s Been Busy” – 3:18
- “7 Deadly Sins” – 3:18
- “Poor House” – 3:17
- “Where Were You Last Night?” – 3:03
- “Cool Dry Place” – 3:37
- “New Blue Moon” – 3:21
- “You Took My Breath Away” – 3:18
- “Wilbury Twist” – 2:56
In June, Rhino Records released the complete recordings of The Traveling Wilburys, complete with bonus tracks, video footage and both wonderful volumes that the Wilburys put out these 15 odd years ago. For $30 ($19.99 on iTunes), you can own the basic set or $45 gets you a nice, bound linen bound edition complete with a 40-page book outlining TTW “experience”.
The beauty of The Traveling Wilburys was the total spontaneity of its creation. Back in 1988, George Harrison of Beatles fame was working on his album, Cloud Nine, with co-writer and producer, Jeff Lynne of E.L.O. They had been working on this album for 5 years and were finishing up the album. Warner Bros. asked for a B-side to accompany George’s This is Love single and wanted it quickly. George decided to write a new song with Lynne’s help but, as the story goes, his guitar was at Tom Petty’s house. Jeff Lynne had also been working with Tom Petty and they invited Petty to come along for the ride and assist on the song. Lynne had also been putting off his work on Roy Orbison’s new album, so he and George took Roy to lunch where they discussed “doing” the new song with Petty. Orbison then volunteered to sing on the new track. Since they needed a studio in such a short time, George called up his buddy, Bob Dylan to see if they could use his garage studio. Dylan obliged and ended up sitting in with the motley crew. They ended up sitting around picking guitars and wrote a catchy tune that they all liked and named it after a box in Dylan’s garage titled, Handle with Care.
The music and lyrics came so easy for this group and they all loved working together so much that Petty, Lynne, Harrison and Dylan agreed that they should try to complete an album. Only two “challenges”…Dylan was leaving in 10 days on tour and they needed to convince Roy Orbison. They drove up to Anaheim to Orbison’s concert and reportedly George Harrison got on his knees after the concert to recruit Oribson. He readily agreed.
Lynne and Harrison had been referring to the recording gremlins and glitches as Wilburys, referring to after recording editing of “we’ll bury them” in the mixing. They originally came up with Trembling Wilburys but the group decided that Traveling Wilburys was more catchy. They even made up a story about the Traveling Wilburys as nomadic minstrels who were all half brothers with the common father of Charlie T. Wilbury. The Traveling Wilburys comprised of:
Nelson (George Harrison)
Charlie T. Jr. (Tom Petty)
Lucky (Bob Dylan)
Otis (Jeff Lynne)
Lefty (Roy Orbison)
They gathered in the kitchen of Dylan’s producer, Dave Stewart, because they really liked the atmosphere. Over the next week or so, the group collaborated on 12 songs — 10 that made the Volume 1 compilation and two that remained unfinished. For the recent re-release, George’s son, Dhani — known on the Wilbury records as Ayrton Wilbury (a nod to the Harrison’s love of Formula 1 racing) — completed his Dad’s work on Maxine and The Last Ship, 19 years after they were started.
Amazingly, the process was filmed. So, you can see the fantastic creative supernova that was The Traveling Wilburys, directly from the mouths of Nelson, Charlie Jr., Otis, Lefty and Lucky.
History of the Traveling Wilburys, Part I.
History of the Traveling Wilburys, Part II.
History of the Traveling Wilburys, Part III.
Very illuminating about the wondrous creativity of these talented artists who jumped into the fire, wrote these songs AND recorded them in 10 days. Six weeks later, the album was complete and a remarkable part of music history. The Traveling Wilburys was vintage Rock & Roll with a new sound…or maybe it was the amalgamation of these bright pulsars coming together in a bright, shining moment that shone so brightly. Or perhaps it was the “compression” of the short timeframes and the unexpected death of Roy Orbison that ended up producing that wonderful diamond. Regardless, The Traveling Wilburys is one for the ages.
The Wilburys completed Volume 1 and filmed the awesome, previously referenced video of Handle with Care. They were a few days from filming End of the Line, when Roy Orbison passed away from a heart attack in early December, 1988. The video is sans Orbison but the Wilburys manage to include Roy by showing a guitar in a rocking chair as well as his portrait while his voice is heard on the recording. The song is a fitting end and tribute for the great Roy Orbison.
While the second volume was another great compilation, the lack of Orbison seemed to be hauntingly noticeable. The remarkable talent does shine through, however, through several wonderful tracks:
She’s My Baby
As if it weren’t hard enough to realize that Roy Orbison and George Harrison are gone to that big stage in the sky, this wonderful video of The Wilbury Twist features the great, John Candy:
These particular artists were cornerstones of the music industry over several decades and those still living continue to be. Will there ever be another compilation to rival The Traveling Wilburys? It seems that today’s artists are more about their individual accomplishments to give their egos a rest and put a group like this together, you know, for the music.
However, if you were to wave a magic wand and bring artists together to create similar type group, who would it be? For me, my Wilburys would be:
Taylor Hicks, Harmonica & Guitar
James Taylor, Guitar
John Mayer, Guitar
Eric Clapton, Guitar
Van Morrison, Sax & Guitar
I know, I know….but a girl can dream.