‘Traveling Wilburys’ can’t keep secret
The Bulletin — November 4, 1988
Since their picture is plastered on the cover and their distinctive voices ring clear in the music, “The Traveling Wilburys” — Otis, Nelson, Charlie T. Jr, Lefty, and Lucky — may be the worst-kept secret in rock ‘n’ roll. No, it’s not the reborn Rutles. It’s none other than Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne (the last two also produced the album). The all-start quintet originally got together casually as Dylan’s house in Malibu last April, but liked what they heard so much that they decided to go into the studio and expand it into a full-fledged album. Lynne, who produced Harrison’s terrific “Cloud Nine” album, and Petty, who worked with Dylan on his 1986-87 tour, have given the Wilburys a delightful pop sheen in which Orbison’s, Dylan’s and Harrison’s familiar voices stand out. The record is out on a new Warner Bros. custom label,. Wilbury Records, and all of the songs are credited collectively to the Wilburys.
Orbison’s showcases include the rockabilly of “Rattled” and the swooping ballad “Not Alone Anymore.” Dylan turns out a catalogue of automotive imagery on “Dirty World” along with a languid “Congratulations” and a pop parable, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” Harrison sounds terrific on “Heading for the Light.”