Roy Orbison‘s Mystery Girl was first released in February of 1989, two months after the artists’s death, but will soon be reissued with unreleased demos and new song “The Way Is Love.”
Produced by John Carter Cash, the new song was built around vocals from an Orbison work tape and completed by his three sons, who contributed guitar, drums and backing vocals to the final mix. “More or less the reason Alex and Wesley and I are musicians was to play in dad’s band when we got older,” said guitarist Wesley.
While the “expanded” reissue will include only the bonus tracks, the “deluxe” reissue will also include Mystery Girl: Unraveled, a one-hour documentary deconstructing the album song-by-song and featuring new or unseen interviews from four of the album’s producers — Jeff Lynne, Mike Campbell, Barbara Orbison and Bono. The film includes eight Orbison music videos, including four previously unreleased videos and, as a press release on the reissue notes, “a piece documenting the renewal and rebirth of ‘The Way Is Love.'”
For “The Way Is Love,” Orbison’s sons Wesley, Alex and Roy Jr. used vocals from their iconic father originally recorded on a boombox. The vocals were taken to Johnny Cash’s Cabin studio in Tennessee last year using the newly discovered Roy Orbison vocal to anchor the new track.
Reviewing the original release for Rolling Stone, Michael Azerrad wrote that it “encapsulates everything that made Orbison great, and for that reason it makes a fitting valedictory” and continues with the claim that “there are ten songs and six producers on this record, but the sound is miraculously unified.”
Both editions will be released May 20 on Legacy Recordings.