Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Roy Orbison: 16 Biggest Hits [Monument/Legacy, 1999]
Not counting imports, there are now 13 best-ofs on 10 labels by this opera singer from the wrong side of the oil rig. Unless you worship Scott Walker, rockabilly, or both (a big unless), you need precisely one of them. There's no Sun ooby-doobie-booby here, just 16 of the 20 tracks on All-Time Greatest Hits of You-Know-Who, where you pay a buck apiece for four expendables, including Roy's third hit, which peaked at 27 while the other four went 2-9-1-2, wonder why. Here you get what you want: amazing vocal range, a beat that would give Scott Walker lumbago, the mystic miracles "Blue Bayou," "Only the Lonely," and "In Dreams," lesser product slow and fast, and one of the greatest records ever made: "Oh, Pretty Woman." A-