Nearly twenty years after the creation of the band, and over a decade since the music was last available to fans, the music of the Traveling Wilburys will be reissued on June 16, 2007. Rhino Entertainment will distribute the package from the Wilbury Records label. The previously released albums Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 and Traveling Wilburys Volume 3 feature inarguably some of music's greatest singer-songwriters-George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan-as the iconic band the Traveling Wilburys. Both CDs will be combined into one release, The Traveling Wilburys Collection, and will feature bonus tracks of rare and newly mixed previously unreleased music along with a bonus DVD featuring an amazing 24-minute documentary showing unseen footage of the Wilburys and their five video clips, filmed largely on George Harrison's home video recorder.
The Traveling Wilburys were one of the few supergroups that lived up to their promise, because they didn't try to. Things started inauspiciously when George Harrison, needing a B-side for a 1988 single, called in friends Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison for assistance. Two albums later--the second without Orbison, who had passed away shortly after the first was released--the loose-knit collective had recorded material that was as durable, and occasionally eclipsed, the participants' legendary solo work. The Wilburys succeeded due to a genial and contagious camaraderie that permeates both discs. What could have been a train wreck of ego clashes instead resulted in a frothy meeting of the minds. These guys are having a blast, trading lead vocals and harmonies on energetic folk-rock, quirky rockabilly, and Beatlesque pop that shimmers with the respect and esteem the members clearly hold for each other. Harrison and Lynne's rather slick production polishes off edges that might better have been left unvarnished, but there's no denying the loosey-goosey craftsmanship at work in tunes such as "Handle with Care," "End of the Line," and a striking Orbison performance on "Not Alone Anymore" that ranks with any of his finest. Both albums were million-sellers, but oddly went out of print for about a decade until Rhino resurrected them, adding two rare tracks per disc as well as a DVD of music videos and a band documentary. The resulting package is a comprehensive overview of a once--well, twice--in-a-lifetime project that, especially after Harrison's passing, will never be repeated. --Hal Horowitz