The Petty Archives

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Rolling Stone #541 -- December 15, 1988

Nelson, Lucky, Otis, Charlie T. Jr. and Lefty Wilbury, a.k.a. George Harrison. Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison, respectively, released their debut album as the Traveling Wilburys. The project was conceived when Harrison, Petty, Lynne and Orbison were having dinner together in L.A. and Harrison mentioned he needed a new song for the B side of an upcoming single. The following day, they all gathered at Bob Dylan's house, where they wrote and recorded "Handle with Care." The rest is history.

Traveling Wilburys: Volume One | Wilbury/Warner Bros.
Rolling Stone #541 -- December 15, 1988

 Anyone remember the Masked Marauders? Nineteen years ago, in these very pages, there was a review of an album by a twenty-four-karat supergroup of that name featuring Sixties rock gods Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and George Harrison getting down and dirty on songs like "I Can't Get No Nookie" and "I'm the Japanese Sandman." The review, of course, was a fraud, and the Marauders didn't exist. (A phony Marauders record later made to capitalize on the prank wasn't half as funny.) Anyways, the Traveling Wilburys are a kind of '88-model Marauders, a mysterious supergroup playing for fun and laying it down for posterity. Except this time the Wilburys are real and there is no mystery as to who they are -- Dylan, Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. Also, the record is real good, as these things go. Dylan is in finer voice than he's been on his own records of plate; his wicked parody of Springsteen in "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" is quite a hoot, too. Orbison, who's never been in anything less than fine voice, turns the tear ducts on full blast in "Not Alone Any More," while Petty, the junior Wilbury, more than holds his own with the Big O in "Last Night." The spotless Lynne-Harrison production belies the homey tone of the project, but there is more than enough good singing and writing to suggest the Traveling Wilburys may be onto a good thing here. Long may they roam.