Monday, February 11, 2008

Roy Orbison - Pretty Woman 7"

I'll be honest, my introduction to the song "Oh Pretty Woman" was not through Roy Orbison. It was through Van Halen. I was discovering Rock and Roll around the time Van Halen released "Diver Down" and so that is where I first heard this song. I think it was also a single off the record so I probably first heard it on the radio. I'm not sure on my facts here but I think that even when I heard the song on The Loop (WLUP) or WMET in Chicago they included "Intruder" the Eddie Van Halen instrumental that leads right into "Oh Pretty Woman". I know that really has nothing to do with Roy's version, but I just wanted to make sure everyone here knew that they should also seek out that song as well and to make sure they also listen to "Intruder" with "Oh Pretty Woman" because the two really should be played together. I had "Diver Down" on tape and always just considered that guitar as just the intro to the song.
So now onto the original. Diamond Dave did a great job with his version of the song, but this version is where it all began. This version I'm posting is from my 45 and is pretty scratchy. I think you should go to Itunes or find a CD that has a clean copy of this song because it really is a classic. Roy's voice is was truly one of the magical voices in rock history. The adjective "beautiful" isn't often used in describing vocalists in rock. I mean really rock and roll is more about the energy and the personalities. Many times a beautiful voice isn't really a quality that is sought after. I'm not saying that you don't have to be able to sing or that being able to sing isn't a good quality, but I am saying that Roy has almost a crooner quality to his voice. In a way the genius of Roy's work is that he has a sort of traditional pop vocal style put over some great rock or country music. It's a nice combination that I think puts him into his own category. So give this old chestnut a re-listen and see what you think.
Side 2 explores the range of material that Roy took on. This has a Spanish flavor as you would guess from the title. Roy's voice perfectly fits the genre. He sounds like a cowboy in the west riding the trails down near the border. This is song that is a serenade song with which his "beautiful" voice works perfectly. I didn't know the song so maybe it will be new to you as well. I must admit that I had hoped that the song would be entirely in Spanish, but alas just the one line in the chorus is. So while that was a slight disappointment, to you that may be a plus. You can understand all the lyrics. If you don't understand "Yo Te Amo Maria" I believe the translation is I love you Maria. I never studied Spanish, but I think that is right.

01 Oh Pretty Woman.m4a
02 Yo Te Amo Maria.m4a

1 comment:

Matracas said...

Hello Spencer. I came across this post since I was looking for Roy Orbison material and was surprisingly shocked when I read your review. You mention The Loop & WMET (the home of Capt. Wham-o) and you are talking about mid 1982..I myself lived my childhood in Chicago and grew up listening to those two radio stations (the family moved to Mexico in Mid-1980) so I would have to think that maybe both of us are around the same age and may have the same musical tastes.

I would be very interested in having e-mail contact with you (and anyone else from the era) since every day that goes by my memories of Chicago just sink further & further away.

Oliverio Martinez