In addition to the new documentary, Mystery Girl: Unraveled, Roy Orbison’s upcoming MYSTERY GIRL DELUXE (out May 19th- Pre-order now! ) features 9 NEW audio tracks that accompany the original 10 Mystery Girl songs. These never-before-released recordings boast studio demos with alternate lyrics, work-tape recordings of a never-before-heard song, and an all new, fully produced song by Roy Orbison featuring his sons and family friend John Carter Cash called “The Way Is Love.”
Read on for more information:
THE WAY IS LOVE (Click here to listen!)
Originally recorded circa 1986 on cassette player boom box. The original recording of “The Way Is Love” was thought to be lost forever. The Roy Orbison vocal on this track is the only one ever of this song. Found again recently by the Orbison Family, and knowing Roy and Barbara’s passion for the song, Roy’s Boys (Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex) decided to take the existing work-tape and put modern instrumentation on it. “We all talked and decided it would be the best if we could play the backing instruments and sing backups on the track, fulfilling a lifelong family dream to play not only with our father, but with each other as brothers,” said Roy Orbison Jr. Being professional musicians, that is just what they did. Enlisting John Carter Cash to co-produce and play acoustic guitar, the boys went into The Johnny Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville. With the help of the “New Nashville A-Team” to supply the sounds of piano, organ, bass, and strings, Roy and Wesley playing guitar, Alex on drums, and all the Orbisons singing backup vocals, the result is a brand new, never-been-heard before 2014 Roy Orbison song. “It’s a matter of heart,” John Carter said of recording the song and the Cash-Orbison bond that has grown for forty-nine years and four generations.
SHE’S A MYSTERY TO ME Studio Demo with Bono
This version of “She’s a Mystery to Me” is a live take of Roy, Bono, and drummer Jim Keltner working the song out in Rumbo Studios. On this intimate recording you can hear Bono help Roy into the second verse if you listen closely, as Bono had changed the lyrics to the second verse several times. Roy stumbles here and Bono catches him. “Off you go, Jim!” Bono can be heard affectionately saying to Jim Keltner at the beginning of the song.
(ALL I CAN DO IS) DREAM YOU Studio Demo
This is an alternate take of the tracking of “Dream You.” On this stripped down version you can hear Rick Vito’s searing guitar and drummer Mickey Curry yelling “BAM!” over the drum fills, making this a raunchy rocker. The amount of fun the musicians were having is palpable as Roy, who is one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, comes full circle from his Clovis, New Mexico and Memphis roots.
THE ONLY ONE Studio Demo
This is a live-in-the-studio take of Roy’s son Wesley’s song “The Only One” in which you can hear Roy say, ”It felt really good to me,” just before the song starts. Interestingly Roy took his guitar (actually son Alex’s black acoustic-electric Takamine) into the vocal booth with him and played the lead from there, singing and playing in one take. Roy had used this unorthodox style before, most notably on “Oh, Pretty Woman.” On this song Roy plays the lead-in melody which later became the “dum dee dum-dum ooh, yeah yeah’s” and taking an Orbison-style flamenco strumming solo at the end of the song. It sounds almost as if the band wanted to go on forever, even if the charts called for the song to end.
THE COMEDIANS Studio Demo
This version of “The Comedians” is an alternate vocal with the tracking instruments under it with no musical or vocal overdubs or strings. This is most likely a scratch vocal and a tape that Roy would listen to on cassette on the way home from the studio and on the way back the next day to do the lead vocal tracking.
IN THE REAL WORLD Studio Demo
“In the Real World” studio demo is from a single cassette tape. This demo is an early version of the master recording with alternate vocals. This song came from a tape of the songs with Roy and Mike Campbell playing acoustic guitars and then having drums and bass laid down, then laying a scratch vocal down (this song has integral guide backup vocals). This tape was likely sent to Mike Utley to play synthesizer for a violin and string reference. In the meantime Roy and Mike would have finished the track and they would lay Mike Utley’s string arrangement over the track with real string instruments.
CALIFORNIA BLUE Studio Demo
You can hear the studio chatter of Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy as they set the tempo as the track starts off. Being that Jeff Lynne is such a master producer there were no alternate takes or scratch vocals to be had, but “California Blue” did have an amazing alternate ending that didn’t make the album. All of the other instruments and musicians have been muted out except for Roy and his guitar. The bending high notes, control of the vibrato and tremolo, and timbre of Roy’s notes on the crescendo are solid proof that his voice continued to get better as time went on.
WINDSURFER Work-tape Demo
The work-tape demos are primitive recordings of songs on a boom box and usually accompanied only with guitar and/or keyboard. Roy and Bill Dees are heard here in great form singing the heart-wrenching ballad of the windsurfer who overtly commits suicide in this original version of the song. On the album the lyrics were changed but still implied the suicide, which is a more Orbison-like touch. The lyrics, “It was early one morning, they found him face down in the sand. Why do we always go for something out of reach? Nobody ever really understands” pack a punch here in this home recording.
YOU ARE MY LOVE Work-tape Demo
Almost a lullabye, “You Are My Love” is an amazing love song. The fact that there is no master recording of this song makes it all the more special. Hearing an unknown Roy Orbison song has a profound effect on any Roy Orbison fan and this is no exception. Roy and Bill show just how deep love can be, and that, like Roy’s voice, love can get better as time goes on. This tender home recording is everything we have loved about Orbison-Dees for all these years and in closing the Mystery Girl Deluxe album you can hear not only how close Bill and Roy were to their spouses, but also to each other.