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One of rock's buried treasures is about to be re-released...

The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 & 3 To Be Re-Released June 12, 2007

The Traveling Wilbury albums are being re-released on June 12! I am beside myself with giddiness today!

I don't know how this news escaped me. This is truly a “stop the press” kind of moment. I was wandering around the internet and saw the announcement on Tom Petty's web site. This might be the re-issue of the entire year, even if we do get Beatles' remasters.

The Traveling Wilburys, for those of you who don't know or don't remember, was one of the great supergroups ever: Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. Is that any good? You better believe it. The first album, Vol. 1 was released in 1988 and spawned the marvelous hit single “Handle With Care.” A second album, Vol. 3 was recorded and released in 1990 following the passing of Roy Orbison. Both albums have been out of print for more than 10 years.

I was in middle school in 1988, firmly ensconced in my hair metal period. I grew up on The Beatles and would never have knocked George Harrison, but these were old people making old music. I was indifferent about The Wilburys and forgot all about them until last year.

I went through a pretty serious Petty phase last year. That phase caused me to want to add albums of his I'd previously missed and was reminded of The Traveling Wilburys. I was horrified to discover the albums were out of print and pissed to find out they were fetching a fortune on eBay.

What the fuck is going on with this world when an album that loaded with legendary talent can be out of print? I am sure there was some nasty record label jackassery at work, but the roadblocks that once existed have been cleared and these records are returning to store shelves.

I did get to hear “Handle With Care” last year when I bought Petty's Soundstage live DVD. The experience got even better when I got to hear him perform the song live in Atlanta last fall. Petty started playing the song in concert again when George Harrison's widow, Olivia, asked him to do the song at “The Concert for George.” Since then, “Handle With Care” has been a staple of his live shows and it gets a great response every time he plays it. In other words, this is a song people like even if they haven't been able to buy it for 10 years. It was well past time to get it back in stores, and the wait is nearly over.

My enthusiasm for this extends beyond that one song. I've probably heard one or two other songs from these two albums, but I can't recall them. I'm holding out hope that there are a few other gems that will shine brightly alongside “Handle With Care.”

Of course, as exciting and overwhelming positive as this all is, the re-issue is not without flaw. You are not going to be able to go out and buy the albums separately, at least not initially. The sets will be made available in four packages:

  • Standard Package – Features 2 CDs (Volumes 1 and 3) with bonus tracks, bonus DVD of content and a 16-page collectible book.
  • Deluxe Edition Set – Linen-bound deluxe edition features 2 CDs (Volumes 1 and 3) with bonus tracks, bonus DVD, and a 40-page collectible book with photos, original liner notes, new liner notes and a uniquely numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Vinyl Edition – Features 2 vinyl releases of Volumes 1 and 3 with an additional 12-inch featuring bonus tracks, a collectible album-sized book, plus additional postcards/posters.
  • Digital Edition Bundle – Features downloadable editions of both CDs (Volumes 1 and 3) with bonus tracks, video content and an interactive booklet.

I'm not overly bothered by this because I would have bought both albums anyway, but not everyone has the same level of interest or obsessiveness I do. The casual fans deserve the opportunity to buy these separately. It's a shame they won't get that chance.

I'm already counting down the days…

About Josh Hathaway

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