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Roy Orbister - A Legend in his own Imagination
A veteran of the late Fifties Rock and Roll boom that swept Northmavine, Roy Orbister is still a musical force to be reckoned with.
Growing up on one of Shetland's biggest Advocat plantations in the 1930s, Roy spent his young life working on the Shellsand gang with his father and seven brothers.
Whilst working alongside some of the great Blues guitarists who picked the Warnink grass on the plantation, Roy was greatly influenced by them as he learned the basics of his future trade. It was, however, the chance meeting with Elvis “Earents” Presley that put Roy on the road to Superstardom.
One day in 1952 Roy was sent to meet the shop van at Moorsbrig to get 10 stone of aetmel and a tube of Araldite. Upon entering the shop van he was immediately drawn to the melodic strumming that came from behind the counter.
Elvis was adding the final touches to his first Hit “Heartburn Hotel” which, after Peter Sinclair played it on 'Give us a Tune' that Friday night, was an instant Shetland-wide No 1 smash and caused near riots at Bayes Shop.
Roy was hooked on the new sound and promptly booked time at the local recording studio, Scarpy Records, and drafted in the hot young record producer J Oni Horny.
These sessions although done in only a few hours and with sparce and antiquated equipment, gave birth to the sound and arrangements that we still associate with Roy to this day.
Hit after hit came Roy's way well into the sixties, but as the seventies approached there was a turn in Shetland musical taste to Country Jazz with the influx of artists such as Fingers Tex and the Tail O' Da Heog, The Bee Bop Boogie Band and Good Time Willie and the Punds Shop Two.
Roy bounced back with the classic 1973 album “Funky Hot Hits” which sold upwards of 50 copies. It was the success of this piece of pure musical genius that elevated Roy to Stadium filling Superstardom status. In the hairst of that amazing year he had sell out concerts at both the Gunnister and Lochend Halls. There followed a residency at the Pundswater Palace for two weeks and he also returned there on Christmas Day for Mr Doull's Christmas Extravagansa.
An album a year followed till 1984, and, though none reached the dizzy heights of “Funky Hot Hits”, 12 Shetland No 1's showed that the old maestro hadn't lost his touch.
In 1985 Roy moved briefly into a successful acting career, performing lead roles in many Ronas Drama Group productions, including his legendary portrait of Grutty Jeemy in The Sess Pool. It was for this emotive and touching piece of work that he won The Golden Soorik Award of Mukle Roe that year.
Despite all the success that he had with his acting, music was his first love and Roy was back in '86 with another classic album “Brothers In Barns”. This was accompanied by another hectic tour schedule, this time taking in international dates in Unst and Papa Stour.
It was whilst touring that he met up with Ex Skurdy Geordie Herryson who suggested the formation of a supergroup. Upon signing up folk superstar Boab Deyllan, Tammy Peaty of Voe band The Fartbreakers and leader of the Extra Lightsome Orchestra Cheff Lynne, they were immediately booked for the Voe Show Dance that year and the Travelling Dingleberries were born.
Back solo in late 1987, Roy was once more in the studio, this time with legendary guitarist Eric Clapshot as a session musician (and whit a session dey hed!!!) and produced his last album to date. “Hotel Northmavine” was an instant success going double enamel in its first week of release. This eclipsed all that had gone before and confirmed Roy as an all time Great and one of the most sought after musicians of his time.
Charity events now provide the only chance to see The Munster O. Retirement to his ranch in Burrland has allowed him to take life easy and let him concentrate on his hobby of collecting rare and exotic peats, of which he has an extensive collection at the gavel of his house. The nearby Drulting Tree factory is also a favourite haunt of Roy's and he often goes there to chat to the workers. He has been known to serenade them as they toil, or even take over tweetin the trees whilst the workers roll a cigarette or glance at the local paper.
Talented, charitable and humble, Roy Orbister is the Gentleman of Pop.