Blue Bayou, by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson: why everyone should learn it

Roy feels so bad and got a worried mind. The opening to one of the most recognisable songs of the Twentieth Century, sung by a voice that seems so restrained and innocent by our standards, the musicians so cool while playing difficult runs on a simple progression, before the kind of key change Dylan would laud as making no sense. (Not that I’d know if this happened.) Listening to Linda Ronstadt belting it out for half again as long on free-to-bandwidth video makes me realise why I instinctively disapproved of her as a teenager. That of course is unkind, when Elvis Costello lists her version 9th on his greatest country songs, she was in the Mr Plough episode of the Simpsons, sang on Graceland, and has Parkinson’s. It’s just that the Orbison, if cheesy, is classy. Even his backing vocals are a Greek chorus of subtle urging to go, go, go[1]. Also, she left out many of the lyrics, most contentiously, to my mind, the early lines of the first chorus – but we’ll get to those.

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Songs 2

None Of Us Are Free

(barry mann, cynthia weil, brenda russell)

You better listen my brother
’cause if you do you can hear
There are voices still callin’ from across the years
And they’re cryin’ across the ocean
And they’re cryin’ across the land
And they will until we all come to understand

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Songs 1

Take Me In Your Arms

(Isley Brothers)

I know you’re leaving me behind
I’m seeing you, darling, for the very last time
Show a little tenderbess before you go
Please let me feel your embrace once more

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