Friday, January 17, 2014

Leo Kolijn's Roy Orbison Collection!

Recently, I had the opportunity to see what could very well be one of the best Roy Orbison collections that exists. At least it probably was the best, that is, until the Roy Orbison estate purchased a large portion of it. The collector's name is Leo Kolijn and he lives in Fredericton, NB. While he did sell a lot to the actual Orbison estate, he still has a massive collection. He's even managed to make a few trades with the Orbison’s to add some very unique items to his collection.   

Some of Leo's collection. The top row of records on the left is all Orbison. 

It almost made me nervous looking over Leo’s collection. While he takes pride in everything he has, he tends to not obsess over condition and preservation as much as I do. Don’t get me wrong, everything is in fantastic condition, it’s just not all in protective plastics. I swear, when he was clearing a seat for me to sit down, he probably moved aside half a dozen Orbison autographs on loose pieces of paper, photos, etc.   
The conversation was pretty relaxed as we were just digging through his shelves of records and memorabilia, discussing whatever we found. So, here are some highlights from my interview with Leo. 

Roy Orbison CD's. Most still sealed. When he sold most of his albums to the Roy Orbison estate he made sure to keep a copy of everything at least on CD.

Mystery Girl gold disc.

Maritime Vinyl (MV): Where did you acquire your collection and how big is it? 

Leo: I've always liked music and from the time I could join the record clubs (any 10 lp's for $.99) back in 64 - 65 I've saved records. Back then I had a little reel to reel that I would tape the radio on. Most of my Christmas gifts and birthday gifts were records and everyone knew I liked Roy so all would try to find his music. Anytime I was in a new town in Canada, USA or Holland I would look for the music stores new and used. I also used Record Collector mag's such as Goldmine to find RO records. After I was married and we saved enough to take a winter vacation I found a used record store that gave me the address of the Orbison fan club in England and from that I got in touch with the Dutch club. All trades were made by mail so to get an LP or 45 took a month +. Today it is in seconds. 

Various Roy Orbison fan club magazines

Leo: As to how much I have, well very few 45's 30-40 LP’s, some 8 tracks cassette's and of course 150+cd's, box sets cd's, DVD's of shows and interview's, radio programs, pictures, old fan club books, etc. Bottom line ... I have every song that Roy ever put out to his public on cd with a “+” behind that. 

MV: Did Roy Orbison play in Fredericton before? 

Leo: Orbison played here yes. He played at George Street High School one year, the old FHS. He played at The Playhouse and he played at the Aitken Center of course because there are pictures from the Aitken Center around here too, I took them back stage and stuff.  

On that tour, I took this picture in Saint John: 

MV: You mean this one? 

Leo: No the one that is autographed… 

MV: They are all autographed Leo? (looking at a wall of about 10 autographed Roy Orbison pictures).  

Leo: The one that says: “To Leo”. I took that in Saint John and when he came to Fredericton…. 

Photo Leo took of Roy Orbison and had him sign. 

This is when Leo started to get into the story of how he originally met Orbison. We often got sidetracked when we found a rare fan club magazine or record, so in a nutshell, this is how they met: 

In 1981, Leo travelled to Moncton and Saint John to see Roy Orbison in concert. Orbison was also going to be playing in Fredericton, but Leo wanted to catch every show on this Maritime tour. In Moncton and Saint John, Leo befriended Roy’s roadies at the shows and told them about his collection. They took particular interest because of all the names that Leo mentioned whom he met through the various fan clubs. When the tour moved to Fredericton, the road crew took the opportunity to see the collection in person. Through conversation they mentioned that after the Fredericton show, the road crew and band jump on the tour bus and head to Toronto; however, Roy is going to be staying overnight and flying out the next day. 

That night Leo made it back stage at the concert with the road crew. 

Original poster of Roy Orbison's movie "Fastest Guitar Alive"

Still sealed movie soundtrack

Leo: I made it back stage and bumped into Sam Orbison, Roy's brother and manager. I introduced myself and told him that I worked for a taxi company in town and that I would be happy to drive you and Roy to the airport tomorrow. 

Sam told him that they leave on the tour bus but Leo said that he heard differently.

Leo: "I’m not coming to bug you’s”, I said, “I just work for transportation and I’m offering my services.” 

Sam said that he would get back to him. 

During intermission, Sam came and found Leo and told him: “Roy said you can pick us up at 12:30 at the hotel." 

Leo: There. That’s how I got my foot in the door!  

So, on June 7, 1981 Leo finally got to meet Roy Orbison in person when giving Sam and he a tour of Fredericton on their way to the airport. Roy took a liking to Leo and was impressed when hearing about his collection. Roy even left him with his contact information so they could stay in touch.  

 Sam Orbison (left) and Roy Orbison June 7, 1981, when Leo was driving them to the airport. He didn't use a taxi but instead his friends car. Word got out that he would be driving Roy so this kept them inconspicuous.  

A few years later, Roy’s wife Barbara was trying to replace some items that they had lost in a fire and she remembered a fan club record that Leo had. So, she called him and asked if she could buy it.  

Leo: I never had an extra one at the time but soon found one and called Barbara. She asked me how much I wanted and I told her a tour jacket! 

1980’s Roy Orbison tour jacket. Leo traded Orbison’s wife a rare record club album for this jacket.  

So, they made arrangements for Leo to drive down to Portland, Maine and meet up with the current tour and drop off the record and various other items to Roy himself.  

Roy Jr., Roy Orbison and Leo. This was taken when Leo drove to Portland to trade his items to Roy.
Leo: That’s the last time I met Roy, in 1984. 

Roy Orbison died in December 1988. 

Unfortunately, Barbara again lost all of her belongings 1993 at a house fire in Malibu, but at least she had Leo as a contact to find replacements. He sold off a great deal of his collection to Barbara at this time, but what better place could it go? He still has a huge collection left. 

So, a big thank you to Leo for letting me stop in to see this great collection, allowing me to post pictures, and share it with everyone here at Maritime Vinyl. Leo is open for any questions that you readers have for him. He loves to talk about Roy. If you have any questions for Leo, please head over to my Facebook page and send me a message there.

Leo: In 98 we had a 10 year anniversary for Roy in Nashville and you can see some of my records that were on display The sun 45's and the club EP as well as a jewel copy (still in my green sleeve)

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