Reviews: Volume One – Traveling Wilburys
Review by Tim Smith
Canton Observer — Monday, November 28, 1988
The legendary members of this band have never exactly been known for making music for the sheer fun of it. But that’s what the Wilbury brothers – Otis, Nelson, Lucky, Lefty and Charlie T. Jr – have done on this 10-song set.
Otherwise known as Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, these guys shed their heavy-hearted images to come together for some well-crafted, happy-go-lucky music on “Volume One.”
About the only disappointment is that the distinctly different superstar musicians did not exactly bang out some hard-driving material. Instead, they opted for harmonies, acoustic guitars and devil-may-care lyrics.
That doesn’t mean “Volume One” isn’t a ball.
“Oooh, babe, the pleasure’d be all mine, if you’ll let me drive your pickup truck, and park it where the sun don’t shine,” sings Dylan, er … Lucky, on tongue-in-cheek “Dirty World.”
On “Margarita,” Petty (Charlie T. Jr.) croons that “it was in Pittsburgh, late one night/lost my head, got into a fight/rolled and tumbled, ’til I saw the light/went to the Big Apple — took a bite.”
“Nelson” Harrison is featured vocally on the hit single, “Handle With Care,” and “Heading For The Light,” two tasty mid-tempo songs that could have been leftovers from his “Cloud Nine” sessions. By the way, Harrison and (Otis) Lynne co-produced both that LP and the Wilbury collaboration.
Also, George’s guitar style abounds throughout the disc: Listen to the intro to “End Of The Line.” It’s a dead ringer for that on the Beatles “I’m Looking Through You.”
Others worth mentioning are “Rattled,” a rockabilly track with ex-ELO stalwart Lynne handling lead vocals, and hard-edged “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” which offers some of Dylan’s best storytelling lyrics in quite some time.
Radio may not be doing much to showcase the Wilburys so far. But that shouldn’t matter to fans of these legends, who have put together an effort to be proud of.