This Lonely Heart
LARRY BRANSON grew up in Western Canada the son of second generation Norwegian-Canadian parents. He didn't get into the music business until 1968 and only then by fluke. Larry's parents bought him a "sing-a-long" record player and he would turn down Orbison's voice and turn up his own to practice. Branson says "At the time, I wasn't trying to sound like Roy Orbison... I thought, if I was going to learn how to sing, l'm going to let Roy be my teacher. It really is strange how things turned out".
After graduating from Gladstone High School in Vancouver, B.C, Larry worked at various jobs, but one day, while working at Radio Shack, during a lunch break he was asked by a co-worker if he would manage his brother's band. When Larry first heard them play, they were doing an instrumental version of Orbison's classic "Oh Pretty Woman". Larry jumped in to provide the vocal and he was soon asked to front the band. For the next five years Larry and his group "Downstream" played country music, rock & roll and just about everything until he decided to go solo. Since then Larry has pursued a life-long dream to perform a "Tribute To Roy Orbison"
After Roy's untimely death on December 6th, 1988, Larry decided the time was right to get serious about his dream. In February, 1989 he auditioned for the "Legends Of Rock & Roll" and became a staple in that show for the next four years. Larry was later discovered by the producers of a major new musical in England "The Roy Orbison Story," where he spent the next three years acting and singing in the production, which culminated in a yearlong run at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End.
Larry has since completed a 40 date tour across Canada with "THIS LONELY HEART: The Roy Orbison Experience" beginning in September 1998 through until January lOth, 1999, followed by a summer 2000 season at the Memories theatre in Pigeon Forge.
The album "This Lonely Heart," is an 18 track CD containing 8 studio cuts and 10 "Live" tracks from "Legends Of Rock & Roll" shows. While not professing to be a country album, it should appeal to country fans who grew up in the 60s with the music of Roy Orbison and who still have a liking for the Rock & Roll music of that time.
title track "This Lonely Heart,"
is a self penned song, recently released as a single and currently
sitting at #1 in the ECMA compiled charts of the most played country
Of the other 7 studio cuts on here there are some great power ballads like, "Love The One Who's Been Loving You," and "Special Part Of Me" while "Leave your Memories At The Door," is probably the most country track on the album.
"It's Just The Sun" is a great track to shake off those winter blues and one that reminds me of "California Blue"......a wonderful song on Roy's 'Mystery Girl' album...... with it's rumba beat.
On the rockier side, there is an excellent cover of "I Wanna Be Your Man," a song recorded by both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and while I'm not 100% sure, I think Roy also recorded a version as well.
The "LIVE" tracks on the album are all covers of some of Roy's biggest hits like, "Pretty Woman," Crying," "Only The Lonely" and "It's Over" etc, with the only disappointment being that they would have made an excellent concert for broadcast on Radio Metro had they not been laid down as separate tracks.
I can only describe the resemblance in both voice and looks to the Big "O", as being "Spooky." Larry is about as close to the real thing as it is possible to get! Roy Orbison may have died 12 years ago, but through Larry Branson another generation will now get the chance to see and hear what the great man was all about!!
Although there isn't much country on here, it is still a very good album!!!
*Check out Margery's review of Larry's Christmas album!*
An Orbison Christmas
Containing 12 tracks, "An Orbison Christmas" is an album of traditional Xmas fayre with great versions of songs like; "White Christmas," "Silver Bells," and "Winter Wonderland" as well as the more religious songs like; "Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing."
There are also a couple of songs that I haven't heard before. "Christmas Spirit" is a nice ballad enhanced with the superb harmony's of The Jordanaires while "First Christmas"..........not to be confused with the hit song recorded by pop duo "Wham".............. is a duet with a female singer by the name of T.M.Harding that I could listen to over and over again.
Other songs on here include well known favourites like; "Pretty Paper," "Blue Christmas," and very different, slower version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," as well as "Let It Snow" and "The Christmas Song."
There is no doubt, this album will be getting loads of airplay this Christmas both at home and on Radio Metro.