Drove All Shite:
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra follow their successful ‘collaborations’ with Elvis by reviving another distinctive and much-missed voice from the past: The Big O, adding lush orchestration to seventeen of his best known hits.
Orbison’s downbeat love songs are perfectly suited to the mournful strings of a full orchestra – something which, naturally, was also recognised this at the time. As a result a lot of the tracks (particularly early hits such as In Dreams and I’m Hurtin’) sound more or less exactly the same as the originals.
However, when the arrangements do deviate from the originals it is with mixed results. John Barry-style strings add an unwelcome layer of schmaltz to It’s Over, while Pretty Woman loses much of its sex-appeal shorn of its original guitar riff. On the other hand, 1980s hit You Got It sounds fresher with classic strings than with the synthetic production of that era.
Ultimately however, this is at best a curio and at worst a classy act of vandalism.
This review first appeared in the Irish News