Cry Softly, Lonely One had a tremendously convoluted recording history, interrupted as it was for work on two other projects (including the shooting and soundtrack of The Fastest Guitar Alive) and not released until 1967. That was sad because that album caught Orbison firing on all cylinders in his best voice ever, and with Joe Melson backing him vocally on the classic Monument sides with a killer array of songs -- from the opener, "She," across to the title track by way of "Communication Breakdown" -- had this record come out in 1964, it might well have charted high behind any of those songs, or the more rhythm-driven "Girl Like Mine." In late 1967, however, the album was an anachronism (the other irony is that, had it come out 18 months later, it might have ridden the same roots rock wave as Elvis Presley's Memphis albums, or Joe South, to success). Some of it, such as "That's a No No," was a true throwback to an earlier pop/rock era, but most of what was here was a great showcase for Orbison's classic sound as it had evolved, oblivious to the musical trends around him (and at least he never tried to emulate the psychedelic sounds of the period in the way that the Everly Brothers did on their live album).
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder