Though Roy Orbison passed away more than two decades ago, his voice is featured in a new recording scheduled to be released in the end of May of this year.
Roy Orbison’s unique voice, with its characteristic deep timbre, is famous for songs such as Only the Lonely, Pretty Woman and You Got It. Roy’s career, which included acting as well as singing, was a raging success from 1960 right up until his death in December of 1988. In fact, Orbinson’s last album was released two months after his death, in February of 1989. When speaking of his singing, Roy Orbison said, “Once I started singing, it was sort of a wonder. It was a great feeling, and it didn’t hurt anybody, and it made me feel good, and some people even said, “Roy, that’s nice.” He must have been a humble man, indeed, to speak so modestly of his great talent.
The reissue of Orbison’s final album, Mystery Girl, will include previously unreleased demos. Produced by Johnny Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, it features a new song, The Way Is Love, performed by Orbison’s boys, Roy Jr., Wesley, and Alex. The vocals, originally recorded by Roy Orbison on a boombox, were extracted and joined with music provided by Orbison’s three sons, who contributed guitar, drums, and back up vocals. This joint effort is a dream come true for the younger Orbison generation. The trio became musicians so they could play together in their father’s band. Says Alex Orbison of the recording, “It really brought us closer together in a lot of ways. We were able to finish it up and get it out by Father’s Day, too, which was obviously special to us.”
The Orbison clan is not alone in the desire to perform with their father. Natalie Cole had a similar dream. In 1991, the singer recorded the famous song, Unforgettable, with her late father, Nat King Cole. The duet was well received with fans of the father and daughter alike. Due to modern technology, Natalie was able to virtually perform this song last year at the Latin Grammy awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Los Angeles. “I think it’s always a little bittersweet when I do it,” says Natalie. “It’s still emotional, but it still feels good, so you always still want to hold on to that feeling.”
Roy Orbison’s children feel the same way. “We all just wanted to not stop recording,” said Alex Orbison. “We had so much fun.” Maybe the Orbison men will take a page from Natalie’s book and continue with joint recordings of some of Roy’s other songs. Maybe they will create a new band. “When are we going to do an Orbison Brothers record?” quips Alex. Whether he was joking or not remains to be seen.
Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl will be released in the latter part of May.