The Traveling Wilbury’s were a rather unlikely supergroup.  It was always understandable that ex-Beatle George Harrison and Bob Dylan would work together because they had done so before and were very close friends, but the addition of Roy Orbison who’s music career was largely done by the time the Beatles came along was a bit of a surprise although he had a strong recognisable voice none the less.  Jeff Lynne was also a strange choice for recruitment although Harrison had always admired his production work with ELO, but bringing Tom Petty into the fold is a bit of a puzzler. Not necessarily in the talent department, just a strange choice, however the combo worked a treat.

The release of the first Wilbury’s album in October 1988 was titledVolume 1 and went straight into the charts.  The songs were superbly written; quirky, commercial and slick which is probably what you would expect with a pedigree like this.  Mystery was added to the intrigue, as the band members didn’t use their real names anywhere on the album.  Each member assumed the family name of Wilbury.  Lefty (Roy Orbison), Otis (Jeff Lynne), Lucky (Bob Dylan), Charlie T Jr. (Tom Petty) and Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison).

Harrison predominantly wrote volume 1’s openings track Handle with care with each member of the band singing a verse.  It is an immediately catch song indicative of what to expect through the remainder of the album.  Orbison’s operatic vocals shine throughout, particularly on Not alone any more which was written by Lynne, who’s’ rockabilly contribution Rattled is quite impressive whilst Dylan’s’ Dirty world and Tweeter and the monkey man add an enigmatic aura in typical Dylan style.  Dylan’s’ other contribution Congratulations is a very likeable but rather depressing dirge.

Petty’s’ Last night and Margarita are also nice additions to this well crafted album.  Harrisons’ other songs include Heading for the light and End of the line.  The album sold 2 million copies in the US in the first 6 months and was later certified triple platinum and was regarded as a commercial super success.

The band released Volume 3 in 1990, minus Roy Orbison who had died two months after the first albums release (December 6th 1988).  Save yourself the effort, DONT go looking for Volume 2 – IT DOESNT EXIST!  The second album was titled Volume 3 as a joke, and it worked!  I’ve spent the last 24 years trying to convince people that there is no Volume 2.  However, having listened to Volume 1, I’m sure you will want Volume 3 as well.