By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Of all of the major figures in rock 'n' roll (with the still unexplained exclusion of Van Morrison), Roy Orbison is one of the last to finally be anthologized via box set.
That omission has been thankfully rectified with The Soul of Rock and Roll, a four-disc collection that spells out Orbison's tremendous contribution to American music. Containing more than 100 songs spanning Orbison's entire career, the set, along with Elvis' 50's Masters and the Chess Records box sets of Chuck Berry and Howlin' Wolf, is a definitive statement of a singular talent.
Born in Vernon, Texas, Orbison's legend is many-faceted. As a composer, a singer and a guitarist, Orbison's influence reverberates over a half-century span. Few artists could claim to have inspired The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, among many others, but Orbison's reach actually is that great.
Along with the expected (but still amazing) array of hits, the new collection includes a dozen unreleased and rare songs, including a live performance of "It's Over" from his last concert in 1988. It also includes songs from his time in The Traveling Wilburys, and key cuts from his unheralded 1988 Mystery Girl comeback release and his many contributions to movie soundtracks. Simply put, The Soul of Rock and Roll is a must-have for anyone who wants to understand the foundations of rock, pop and country.