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The Sound Page: Have Wilbury, will travel
By Saw Tek Meng
New Straits Times — Sunday, November 27, 1988
THE TRAVELING WILBURYS — Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 (WB): Though this is their debut reordings, the Wilburys have been responsible for some of the most vital albums of the past 25 years either singly or with others. Who are they?
To any self-respecting rock fan, the cover is a dead giveaway. Though the credits list their names as Lucky, Otis, Charlie T. Jnr, Lefty, and Nelson, their faces reveal them to be Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and George Harrison.
Some supergroups have failed to live up to the promise of the talents involved but this is happily not the case with the Wilburys. The album is truly enjoyable, with the keynote being fun.
The five were obviously in high spirits and good humour when they got together. All the songs are great, with some being send-ups and parodies, especially two of Dylan’s compositions, Dirty World, a spoof of Prince with hilarious double entendre lyrics, and Tweeter and the Monkey Man, a captivating, if melodramatic narrative with imagery and characters that could be a light-hearted poke at the New Jersey of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.
Dylan’s other song, Congratulations, is a ballad underlined with sarcasm that only he can do so well. Lynne also has two wonderful contributions, the rockabilly Rattled and Not Alone Any More, which he wrote for Orbison, as sort of a sequel to the latter’s classic Only The Lonely, while Heading for the Light and Handle with Care are so Beatlish in tone, they could only have been the work of Harrison.
Can’t wait for Vol. 2.