Friday, November 14, 2003

Vol. 1

Query: what do you think of when you see Vol. 1? Honestly, now. A book series, some archive of information - audio, visual, other? When I see Vol. 1, I think Wilburys, the Traveling kind. I am assuming you all know of The Traveling Wilbury's, the 1988 super-duper-group of George Harrison (Nelson), Jeff Lynne (Otis), Roy Orbison (Lefty), Tom Petty(Charlie T. Jr.) and Bob Dylan(Lucky). If not, there's your introduction.

Last spring I was poking around in my local library's CD collection and came across this long-forgotten gem. Being the upstanding RIAA loving citizen I am, I quickly checked it out and made a copy. But before anyone's undies take the north road to cracktown, I own the cassette so I have duly paid for this music. Of course, my mom abducted my Wilburys back in '94 in my last stint at home so it has been Traveling without me.

This afternoon, as I was browsing through the latest news, smiling quietly to myself about the atrociously bad tongue-twister I left in a comment thread somewhere, and generally just pissing about, the Wilburys traveled (I promise that's the last time I play off the Traveling part of their name. Okay, maybe promise is too strong a word, but we can all hope), or should I say shuffled, their way into my random-playing MP3 software and "grabbed me from behind." (That's a lyric quote from "Dirty World", by the way. Please continue) I had once again, as in 1988 and the spring of 2003, been pleasantly surprised by the smiling benevolence and exuberant joy that is Vol. 1. Maybe it's just the fact they wrote and recorded a song a day; that Bob Dylan actually is having fun in a non-vitriolic or cynical way; that the Jeff Lynne/George Harrison combo that made the last great Harrison record Cloud Nine got to continue riding that wave; that Roy Orbison was flush with his rejuvenated career; and that Tom Petty was pulled up by his ears to a level where he wasn't embarrassed playing with his idols. Yet Vol. 1 is a joy I can't share. I can't say, "go get a copy now!" for, alas, the album is out of print. The last I heard, the widow of Roy Orbison wanted some astronomical licensing fee for the rights to his vocal contributions. And without Lefty, you get the better left unmentioned sequel Vol. 3.

On a side note - of course this whole thing has no point so is really just a big side note - I have some inklings about what happened to the missing Vol. 2. With Lefty's death falling a mere six-weeks after Vol. 1's release, the remaining 'Burys got together in New Orleans and celebrated a full "ragin' cajun" funeral celebration with the Meters. The recordings made that night were quickly swapped for a pair of galoshes and three corn cob pipes (Charlie T. Jr. was afraid the tobacco would ruin his beautiful teeth), and somewhere near Hannibal, Missouri, were given by a shoeless riverboat gambler to a drunken, vest-wearing Tom Waits bootleg trader. This same man - some called him Eustis - hopped the rails and took the master tapes to Tucson, Arizona, where a Sino-Arabian smuggling operation (transporting Alsatian puppies across the border, through Mexico and Latin America, into the underground Alsatian markets of Lima, Peru) agreed to take the tapes if Eustis would also give them the first knuckle from his left thumb. Realizing that he was being hornswaggled, Eustis lit on out for T. T. LeGrandes' dental floss ranch in Bongo, Montana - but never made it. Outside of a little all-night joint in One Horse Town, Colorado, Eustis met his end in a bizarre bobbing-for-apples incident best left to the imagination. The tapes? Why, I don't rightly know where they went from there. Traveling, I guess...

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