On the surface, this appears to be just another standard music legend/world class orchestra collaboration; A gift to fans, but a collective shoulder shrug from everyone else. “A Love So Beautiful,” however, is so much more.
Working with Orbison’s estate, producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, took some of Orbison’s best vocals tracks throughout his decades-long career and added the backing of a full orchestra. And if you’re one to cry blasphemy at just the idea of touching up someone’s work after they pass away, just listen to the results. Orbison’s smooth-as-velvet voice is complemented beautifully by these subtle arrangements. Orbison’s family was fully committed to this project with his sons Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex adding in additional guitars and drums throughout.
While the occasional rocker like “Pretty Woman” and “Mean Woman Blues” fare better sans strings, songs like “Love Hurts” and “Only The Lonely” are enhanced impressively by the additional musicians. The set also includes a last-minute inclusion of the Willie Nelson holiday great “Pretty Paper,” utilizing a 1963 Orbison vocal track.
While I certainly wouldn’t advocate adding orchestral arrangements to the work of every musician who’s passed on, it worked out remarkably well with Orbison’s catalog.
Roy Orbison With the Royal Philharmonic – A Love So Beautiful/17 tracks/Legacy Recordings/2017 / https://www.legacyrecordings.com/