[6 December 2007]
The Wilbury’s catalogue has shamefully been out of print for over a decade now. That a band could boast the greatest singer (Roy Orbison) and the greatest lyricist (Bob Dylan) in rock history and find its work completely nonexistent is an inexplicable crime. Thankfully, Rhino has righted that wrong with a two-CD/one-DVD set that chronicles the band’s history and output. The real prize of the collection, however, is the film included on the DVD, titled The True History of the Traveling Wilburys. Watching it makes listening to the albums a totally new experience, as it provides background and context that cast the songs in a new light. True, some of this stuff may border on music geek trivia, but it’s fascinating nonetheless. The inspiration for “Last Night”, for example, was “Sidebury” Jim Keltner drumming on jars in a refrigerator. And, just as odd, the lyrics for “Dirty World” were, in part, lifted from an auto magazine. If you’ve ever wondered how geniuses create, this twenty-five minute documentary is an enlightening watch.