CD Review: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic – A Love So Beautiful

It’s incredible to think that nearly 30 years have elapsed since the passing of Roy Orbison. One of the original rock n roll greats, Orbison sadly died in 1989 at the young age of 52 following a successful pop comeback.

Orbison’s strong back catalogue and exhaustive output during his lifetime have meant there has never been a shortage of material on a variety of formats to release in the decades since The Big O’s passing.

A new release, A Love So Beautiful, is the latest posthumous release from The Big O. Harking back a few years to a similar Elvis Presley style project this release pairs recordings of the Big O up with the present day Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Orbison was no stranger to using orchestrations on his tracks, as early 60s recordings such as Running Scared and In Dreams prove. Orbison’s vocal delivery combining heartache (Cryin’, I’m Hurtin’) to romantic yearning (I Drove All Night, Oh! Pretty Woman) doesn’t date.

Sadly, pairing the brilliance of The Big O’s  original recordings alongside a present day orchestral accompaniment doesn’t seem to add much in the way of originality.  The spoken word introduction’s to In Dreams and Its Over seem to lose some poignancy with an orchestral introduction, however there are likely to be some Orbison fans who welcome something a little different.

The album treats the listener to two versions of Orbison’s  hit I Drove All Night, a solo recording with accompaniment from The Royal Philharmonic and a version with added vocal accompaniment from Country Music Duo, Ward Thomas, who collectively were born around five years after Orbison’s passing. 

A Love So Beautiful keeps The Big O ticking over in the present, Newer fans may certainly appreciate the chance to hear The Royal Philharmonic play alongside his vocals and no doubt, this will be a nice taster for a live concert tour next year, with a virtual Big O beamed on to the stage.

For me, I think I’ll be returning to the originals, just how he intended us to hear them!

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