Roy Orbison – Blue Bayou

16th March 2024 · 1960s, 1961, Country, Music

When I first heard Roy Orbison I dismissed him as an old crooner singing overwrought ballads of no relevance to me with my cool musical tastes.

Then, through my friend Steve England, I belatedly discovered the rockabilly songs he recorded at Sun Sessions after being hooked up with Sam Phillips through Johnny Cash.

I even went to see him, at the Mean Fiddler in 1987 – the same year he re-recorded all his old hits for a television special (and subsequent posthumous live album) called A Black And White Night.

And, much as I was with Elvis, whom I had also heard first as a middle-aged crooner before delving into his past, I was quickly converted. Especially when he re-recorded all his old hits just before his death in 1988 for the television special A Black And White Night.

This isn’t one of those early Sun recordings, and it is one of those emotional ballads: written by Roy with Joe Melson, who also composed Crying and Only The Lonely with him, it came out in 1961 as the B-side of his cover of the Elvis hit Mean Woman Blues.

It’s a two-and-a-half-minute piece of pop perfection.

And I was reminded of it yesterday while watching Ethan Coen’s new lesbian road movie, Drive-Away Dolls (or Dykes), where the Linda Ronstadt version (which became her signature song) plays over the closing titles.

Fun film, by the way… and a great song, whoever sings it.