Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys

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by The Traveling Wilburys

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There never was a supergroup more super than the Traveling Wilburys. They had Jeff Lynne, the leader of ELO; they had Roy Orbison, the best pop singer of the '60s; they had Tom Petty, the best roots rocker this side of Bruce Springsteen; they had a Beatle and Bob Dylan, for crying out loud! It's impossible to picture


There never was a supergroup more super than the Traveling Wilburys. They had Jeff Lynne, the leader of ELO; they had Roy Orbison, the best pop singer of the '60s; they had Tom Petty, the best roots rocker this side of Bruce Springsteen; they had a Beatle and Bob Dylan, for crying out loud! It's impossible to picture a supergroup with a stronger pedigree than that (all that's missing is a Rolling Stone), but in another sense it's hard to call the Wilburys a true supergroup, since they arrived nearly two decades after the all-star craze of the '70s peaked, and they never had the self-important air of nearly all the other supergroups. That, of course, was the key to their charm: they were a group of friends that fell together easily, almost effortlessly, to record a B-side for a single for George Harrison, then had such a good time they stuck around to record a full album, which became a hit upon its 1988 release. The Traveling Wilburys was big enough to convince the group to record a second album, cheerfully and incongruously titled Vol. 3, two years later despite the death of Orbison. Like most sequels, the second didn't live up to expectations, and by the time it and its predecessor drifted out of print in the mid-'90s, with the rights reverting to Harrison, nobody much noticed. A few years later, though, it soon became apparent that the Wilburys records -- mainly, the debut, widely beloved thanks to its two hits, "Handle With Care" and "End of the Line" -- were out of print, and they soon became valuable items as the Harrison estate dragged its heels on a reissue. Finally, the two albums were bundled up as a two-CD set simply called The Traveling Wilburys and reissued with a DVD containing a documentary and all the videos in the summer of 2007 (there is also a deluxe edition containing a longer, lavish booklet). Looking back via The Traveling Wilburys, the group's success seems all the more remarkable because the first album is surely, even proudly, not a major statement. Even under the direction of Lynne, who seems incapable of not polishing a record till it gleams, it's loose and funny, even goofy. It's clearly a lark, which makes the offhanded, casual virtuosity of some of the songs all the more affecting, particularly the two big hits, which are sunny and warm, partially because they wryly acknowledge the mileage on these rock & roll veterans. "Handle With Care" and "End of the Line" are the two masterworks here, although Roy's showcase, "Not Alone Anymore" -- more grand and moving than anything on the Lynne-produced Mystery Girl -- comes close in the stature, but its stylized melodrama is a ringer here: it, along with Dylan's offhand heartbreak tune "Congratulations," is the only slow thing here, and the rest of the album just overspills with good vibes, whether it's Tom Petty's lite reggae of "Last Night," Jeff Lynne's excellent Jerry Lee Lewis update "Rattled," or Dylan's very funny "Dirty World," which is only slightly overshadowed by his very, very funny Springsteen swipe "Tweeter and the Monkey Man." These high times keep The Traveling Wilburys fresh and fun years later, after Lynne's production becomes an emblem of the time instead of transcending it. (The album contains two bonus tracks in this reissue, the excellent Harrison song "Maxine" -- a low-key waltz that should have made the cut -- and "Like a Ship," a folky dirge that builds into ELO-esque pop which is pretty good but doesn't have the effervescence of the rest.) The Traveling Wilburys built upon Harrison's comeback with Cloud Nine and helped revitalize everybody else's career, setting the stage for Dylan's 1989 comeback with Oh Mercy, Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, produced by Lynne (sounding and feeling strikingly similar to this lark), and Orbison's Mystery Girl, which was released posthumously. Given the success of this record and how it boosted the creativity of the rest of the five, it's somewhat a shock that the second effort falls a little flat. In retrospect, Vol. 3 plays a little bit better than it did at the time -- it's the kind of thing to appreciate more in retrospect, since you'll never get another album like it -- but it still labors mightily to recapture what came so effortlessly the first time around, a problem that can't merely be chalked up to the absence of Orbison (who after all, didn't write much on the first and only took lead on one song). Where the humor flowed naturally and absurdly throughout the debut, it feels strained on Vol. 3 -- nowhere more so than on "Wilbury Twist," where Petty implores you to put your underwear on your head and get up and dance, the epitome of forced hilarity -- and the production is too polished and punchy to give it a joie de vivre similar to the debut. That polish is an indication that Lynne and Petty dominate this record, which only makes sense because they made it between Full Moon Fever and Into the Great Wide Open, but it's striking that this sounds like more like their work, even when Dylan takes the lead on "Inside Out" or the doo wop-styled "7 Deadly Sins." Both of these are quite good songs and they have a few other companions here, like the quite wonderful country stomp "Poor House," but they're songs more notable for their craft than their impact -- nothing is as memorable as the throwaways on the debut -- and when combined with the precise production, it takes a bit for them to sink in. But give the record some time, and these subtle pleasures are discernible, even if they surely pale compared to the open-hearted fun of the debut. But when paired with the debut on this set, it's a worthy companion and helps support the notion that the Traveling Wilburys were a band that possesses a unique, almost innocent, charm that isn't diminished after all this time. [Rhino issued a deluxe CD/DVD edition in 2007.]

Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. Handle with Care
  2. Dirty World
  3. Rattled
  4. Last Night
  5. Not Alone Any More
  6. Congratulations
  7. Heading for the Light
  8. Margarita
  9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  10. End of the Line
  11. Maxine
  12. Like a Ship

Disc 2

  1. The True History of the Traveling Wilburys
  2. Handle with Care
  3. End of the Line
  4. She's My Baby
  5. Inside Out
  6. Wilbury Twist

Disc 3

  1. She's My Baby
  2. Inside Out
  3. If You Belonged to Me
  4. The Devil's Been Busy
  5. 7 Deadly Sins
  6. Poor House
  7. Where Were You Last Night?
  8. Cool Dry Place
  9. New Blue Moon
  10. You Took My Breath Away
  11. Wilbury Twist
  12. Nobody's Child
  13. Runaway

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Traveling Wilburys   Primary Artist
Gary Moore   Guitar
Jim Keltner   Percussion,Drums
Ray Cooper   Percussion
Jim Horn   Saxophone
Ian Wallace   Tom-Tom
Nelson Wilbury   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Clayton Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Clavoline,Soloist
Lefty Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Lucky Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Otis Wilbury   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Soloist
Spike Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Sitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Ayrton Wilbury   Guitar,Background Vocals,Soloist
Boo Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Background Vocals
Muddy Wilbury   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Del Shannon   Composer
Traveling Wilburys   Composer
Bill Bottrell   Engineer
David Costa   Art Direction
Richard Dodd   Engineer
Mel Foree   Composer
Phil McDonald   Engineer
Don Smith   Engineer
Ryan Ulyate   Engineer
Nelson Wilbury   Producer
Clayton Wilbury   Producer
Otis Wilbury   Producer
Spike Wilbury   Producer
Anthony DeCurtis   Liner Notes
Hugh Jampton   Sleeve Notes
Caroline Greyshock   Sleeve Photo
Neal Preston   Sleeve Photo
Gered Mankowitz   Sleeve Photo
Mo Ostin   Introduction
Cy Coben   Composer
Chris Frazer Smith   Sleeve Photo
Ian La Frenais   Video Director
David Leland   Video Director
Olivia Harrison   Video Producer,Reissue Design
Drew Lorimer   Reissue Design
Ted Ashenbecker   Liner Notes
Nicky Hames   Art Direction
David Kew   Video Editor
Willy Smax   Video Producer,Video Director

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Traveling Wilburys 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 0 reviews.
Walterama 4 months ago
You have George Harrison of the Beatles, Tom Petty without the Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison combining into one supergroup and you have the Traveling Wilburys. This is the deluxe edition which is a must have for the Traveling Wilburys fans including myself in this newly remastered collection set which has Vol. I and Vol. III and a DVD.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
alaz More than 1 year ago
This pair of CDs is one of the best of classic rock & roll. If you bother with having a collection, this is a must-have. Can't say the "deluxe" adds much -- it's the music. The extras are OK.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Bob Dylan seems to have as much fun on these discs as on the Basement Tapes. His comeback CDs Love and Theft and Modern Times have somewhat the same sound as the Wilburys. Tweeter and the Monkey Man is one of his funniest songs ever. George Harrison never sounded as earthy was he does here. Tom Petty, who had the best 80s of these guys, seems more humorous than he does solo. Roy Orbison added a touch of class and Jeff Lynne brought production skills that tied it together. There are a few flaws. The bonus tracks are not really very good except for Nobody's Child. I suspect that the two audio CDs would have fit on a single disc without them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great group of artists. Much too short lived for my liking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I give it a five star review.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used a line from a Tom Petty song released on last years excellent "Highway Companion" notedly produced by Jeff Lynne to stress a key point about the Wilbury music. It only seems to get better with time. Don't read the review in Rolling Stone, the reviewer missed the charm and down home approach these guys took to record their music. Anyone who watches the DVD in this package will see five guys sitting around making up stuff on the fly and it rolls off the tongue naturally. Nothing is forced here on the first disc. The second disc suffers a little without Orbison's influence which grounded the music somewhat. That was the strength of this band, what each of them brought to the band. "Handle with Care", Dirty World", "Last Night", "End of the Line" and "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" all classic's on the first disc. With "Poor House", "Cool Dry Place", "Wilbury Twist" and Dylan's "If you belonged to Me" on the second disc.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty get together and have a great time making music under their alias names and we cant help but have a great time listening. There is nothing to complain about with this box set of their two albums and the DVD that is added to them. Who would have thought that a group like this would make such a good party band? There is nothing too serious here, just a bunch of fun songs. Absolutely worth buying this box.
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