The Monument Singles: A-Sides (1960-1964)

by: Roy Orbison

Legacy’s 2011 The Monument Singles Collection is a terrific two-CD/one-DVD set divided into a disc of Roy Orbison’s A-sides, a disc of his B-sides -- both CDs rounded out with three bonus tracks each -- and a DVD of The Monument Concert, a performance he gave in Holland on March 25, 1965 and aired on the Dutch TV program Combo. Given that this starts with Roy’s signing to Monument in 1959, it contains none of his swinging early rockabilly for Sun -- no “Ooby Dooby,” no “Rock House” -- but it chronicles his peak, the glorious five years when he knocked out operatic pop and seductive rock & roll at a quick clip: “Uptown,” “Only the Lonely,” “Blue Angel,” “I’m Hurtin’,” “Running Scared,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” “Dream Baby,” “In Dreams,” “It’s Over,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman” following one after another. To this core canon, Legacy has added a disc of B-sides -- which aren’t throwaways; they contain Orbison classics like “Candy Man,” “Love Hurts,” “Mean Woman Blues,” “Leah,” and “Distant Drums” -- while adding the aforementioned three bonus tracks to each disc, so this doesn’t merely skim the surface, it offers a full portrait of the man at his best. To this mix, the DVD adds some nice color with a good performance taken at the tail end of his time at the label, but the singles -- which are some of the finest in rock & roll -- are the real story. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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