Depending on your standpoint, the new Wilburys Collection sets up a good news bad news scenario. If you have a deluxe edition already, good news. If you waited ‘til today to pick up one, bad news: you‘ll have a hard time finding one, although it is not impossible yet. For people who only want the music for their iPod, the standard edition will suit them. But for those who like to hold something physical in our hands, the deluxe edition lived up to its hype.
The hardbound book is a perfect balance between personal photos and notes, unused promotional photos, and design concepts from both Wilbury albums seamlessly meshed into one solid package. For a story that involves a lot of fun and silliness in the recording studio, putting together this collection was obviously taken very seriously.
Mixed feelings on the DVD, though. The documentary is, for me anyway, an unprecedented look at these guys just hanging out. It’s exciting to hear (especially) Jeff outside of sit-down interview talking points. The part where Roy finishes a take and Jeff says “That was brilliant…” was particularly refreshing.
The downside to the DVD: all of the promo videos (sans Handle With Care) were re-edited. Opening establishing shots, parts of Dylan riding a bike, most a scene where Dylan was singing something other than “don’t it make you want to twist and shout when you’re inside out” with George trying not to laugh, people dancing goofy to the Wilbury Twist, the entire wide shot of Wilbuys performing She’s My Baby, George pretending to slip in front of the microphone and Jeff’s reaction shot, I can go on and on. All of them are very good and funny moments, most of all them were cut out. That’s a huge disappointment, but so far, it’s the only disappointment.
As with any good remastering job, so much more detail is revealed. In a few places, there are hints that some tracks were ever so slightly remixed. Not so much on Volume One. The Devil’s Been Busy is the most obvious example, but many people won’t recognize the difference. Long story short, the music has powerful sound that still managed to uncover things we haven’t heard before.
The bonus tracks, as many of you know, have been out on bootlegs for years and we may have grown accustomed to hearing them intheir unfinished state, but…
Maxine: excellent excellent excellent.
Like A Ship: Again, mixed emotions here. I like hearing it fresh at last, but at times, there’s way too much happening at once.
Runaway: I love the count in, but found it to be an odd place to bring in the drum and bass line. That’s going to take getting used to. The clavioline pretty much clones this version to the Del Shannon original. I’m leaning towards preferring the Spanish guitar solo on the original and slightly more blunt Wilbury version from the She’s My Baby single. So don’t throw away your She’s My Baby singles, or any original promo videos or Wilburys CDs for that matter. They may still hold some of their value.
This is quite a collection to savor, though.