Entry count: 2596
Roy Orbison - Crying

Roy Orbison

Crying

Released: May 13th, 1962

7.0
Album Review Roy Orbison

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

Support Gaslight Records

By the time 1962 rolled around, Roy Orbison had established himself as one of the leading lights out of Nashville. He was a little left of Johnny Cash and a little right of Elvis. But it took Orbison a little while to realise this place within the musical landscape; his voice was reminiscent of the King's and his look presented nothing particularly new either. He toiled away under the guidance of Sam Phillips at Sun Studios, Memphis, for a few years and only minor hits were the result. It wasn't until he met songwriting partner Joe Melson, that things really began to fall into place for Roy. He moved to Monument Records in 1960 where the focus in the studio was centred around exploiting the quality and range of his voice. Orbison also made the key decision whilst at Monument, to insist that orchestral accompaniment be employed as part of his backing ensemble. From here Orbison and Melson penned hit tunes 'only the lonely' and 'running scared', and it became clear in terms of musical styling and success, that Roy Orbison had arrived.

As such, the album Crying was released amidst a swell of new found popularity and anticipation, and at least as far as the title track goes, it didn't disappoint – reaching number 2 on the billboard charts. 'Crying' is a slow burning lament. The instrumentation is initially sparse, allowing for Roy's voice to come shining through. We are then introduced to subtle layers that combine both strings and soulful backing vocals, and this all moves dynamically towards a great vocal hook. The true brilliance in this particular tune though, can be found in the slowly building crescendo throughout. There's a tension and constant elevation here both instrumentally and vocally, which only fully releases the pressure valve and the subsequent pay-off right near the end, and herein lies one of Roy's unique qualities. His voice had such a range that he could feasibly push it more and more throughout the course of an entire song. In other words, his voice allowed him to start right down low with the likes of John Cash or Nick Cave, and end up all the way up in the stratosphere with Robert Plant. And it's when he employs this approach on Crying that he is at his most effective – 'running scared' being another fine example.

Where this album falls down is in the way it often allows itself to simply cruise along in third gear. The simple, uninspired 50's pop structure and lyrical monotony overtakes the quality on tracks, 'she wears my ring', 'wedding day', and 'summer song'. As such, it becomes difficult at times to keep focus as a listener throughout these pleasant yet derived stretches that act almost as a safety net; as if Roy has strayed out in the scary, soul bearing waters on 'crying' and 'love hurts', and the only way to reign him back in is to sit him down in a familiar old arm chair. 'Forget the steady as she goes stuff Roy and just belt it out,' is what the Producer could've/should've said perhaps.

What we have here is at times brilliant and at times dull – another example of an album from the early 60's that doesn't stand up as a complete body of work. The singles are fantastic, original pieces, and at the time that was all that mattered. The long player was not the priority, and that notion is testament to the sound of this record as a whole.

More recent news

Watch Roy Orbison perform 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Johnny Cash last week

News

October 4th, 1969: Watch Roy Orbison perform "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Johnny Cash last week

Orbison appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville

 
Mixtape October 1969

Mixtapes

October 1st, 1969: Mixtape October 1969

It's the end of Summer 1969, here's what I'm listening to.

 
Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single 'Pewter Suitor' this week - Listen

News

October 1st, 1969: Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single "Pewter Suitor" this week - Listen

The new single was left off the band's album Unicorn, from earlier this year.

 
'I was just about all through as a man' Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Interviews

October 1st, 1969: "I was just about all through as a man" Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Cash gave a brief interview recently while visiting London

 
The Beatles have released their new album Abbey Road - Listen

News

September 26th, 1969: The Beatles have released their new album Abbey Road - Listen

In the same week as John Lennon quit the band, The Beatles have released a new album

 
Listen to alternate takes of Bob Dylan's 'Lay Lady Lay' and 'I Pity The Poor Immigrant'

News

September 26th, 1969: Listen to alternate takes of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" and "I Pity The Poor Immigrant"

Alternate cuts of tracks from Dylan's last two albums

 
Billy Preston releases new album produced by George Harrison: Listen

News

September 26th, 1969: Billy Preston releases new album produced by George Harrison: Listen

His new album features contributions from George Harrison, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Doris Troy

 
The Doors headlined the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival last Saturday night

News

September 24th, 1969: The Doors headlined the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival last Saturday night

With John Lennon watching from the front row, The Doors included part of "Eleanor Rigby" in their solo - Listen

 
The Band release follow-up album to Music From Big Pink - Listen

News

September 23rd, 1969: The Band release follow-up album to Music From Big Pink - Listen

The new self-titled album was recorded in Los Angeles and New York this year. Read a review by Mike Jahn and find the group's upcoming tour dates.

 
Watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform on American Bandstand last Friday

News

September 23rd, 1969: Watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform on American Bandstand last Friday

CCR interviewed with Dick Clark and performed "Green River"

 
'The group's over, I'm leaving.' John Lennon quits The Beatles

News

September 23rd, 1969: "The group's over, I'm leaving." John Lennon quits The Beatles

John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were signing their new recording contract when Lennon dropped the news

 
Watch Ramblin' Jack Elliott perform on 'The Johnny Cash Show' last night

News

September 19th, 1969: Watch Ramblin' Jack Elliott perform on "The Johnny Cash Show" last night

Ramblin' Jack and Cash performed a duet of "Take Me Home"

 
Loading more