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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Soul > Jazz > Punk > New Wave > Electronic > Avant-Garde > You Think You Really Know Me – The Gary Wilson Story (Plexifilm DVD/CD Set)

You Think You Really Know Me – The Gary Wilson Story (Plexifilm DVD/CD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+/B     Extras: C     Film: C+     CD Album: B



There are many stories of great independent films that become influential or classics, but you do not hear about this enough from the long history of the music industry.  Especially now that the labels are in flux and the music itself has its own issues these days (like being junky and disposable,) so many great recordings, successful and unknown, are being lost to time.  You even have idiots who believe that if “no one listens to that” as if they would know such a thing, that said music is irrelevant, even with sampling going on left and right.


However, some albums are legendary and when one of them becomes the subject of a documentary, that can only help bring it back to light.  In 1977, a singer/songwriter/musician from Endicott, New York named Gary Wilson produced, engineered, recorded, sang and played pretty much all the instruments on an album he called You Think You Really Know Me.  He was 24-years-old and it was an amazing work.  There was never a follow-up album, no label was smart enough to pick him up and it quickly disappeared.


Now, the album has been reissued by the indie label Motel Records, run by Adrian Milan and Christine Bates.  They searched for the man, the masters and that tale is told in a new documentary by Michael Wolk called You Think You Really Know Me – The Gary Wilson Story (2008) now hitting DVD from Plexifilm, a label that has built a reputation for backing the best music you have never heard or will eventually hear and hear again.  The 74 minutes are a journey to find out about the album, the man, the place he grew up and the revival.


A good documentary, it sometimes looses its focus and relies too much on static moments to tell the story when it could examine the music and the eras of music more, then and now.  Maybe Wolk’s knowledge is limited in this respect, but there is certainly more than a little archival footage here that helps and Wilson is alive.  The label embarks on getting him on tour again and the results are as interesting as his reunion with his estranged father.


However, this also becomes a microcosm of the many thousands of music fans who made records of some kind (even if they were never made en masse) and moved on to different lives when the dream of being a music star and/or artist was reachable if only they had the time or ambition or luck or distinct talent.  It is also a great tale of great music surviving long after the labels that rejected him are in their own trouble, likely in part because they rejected many such artists as himself.  It also shows how a great album was made outside of the label system and was excellent after all.


The 1.33 X 1 image is mixed as you would expect from a documentary and was shot on analog video for the most part.  It can be rough to watch at times, but worth dealing with any imperfections.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is also good for such a program, sometimes also rough, but the editing helps and location audio with trouble get subtitled.  Extras include Wilson’s experimental films with alternate soundtracks and a very good audio commentary by Wolk on the DVD.  Best of all, this version includes a CD of the original 1977 album and it is as amazing as its reputation would have it be.


The songs are:


1)     Another Time I Could Have Loved You

2)     You Keep Me Looking

3)     6.4 = Make Out

4)     When You Walk Into My Dreams

5)     Loneliness

6)     Cindy

7)     You Were Too Good To Be True

8)     Groovy Girls Make Love At The Beach

9)     I Wanna Loose Control

10)  Chromium Bitch

11)  And Then I Kissed Your Lips



This is so good that it could have had hit singles if it has been picked up by a major or smaller ambitious label.  His singing is as good as the best male singers of the time in the Rock/Soul/Jazz mode like Donald Fagen, Steve Miller, David Bowie, Lou Reed and others as he weaves from those genres to Punk, New Wave, electronic and avant-garde in what has to be one of the great independent debuts of all time.  The PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo sounds incredibly good for its age, meaning the tapes were kept well enough to sound this good now.  What is more incredible is that he made this whole album on a cheap Teac reel-to-reel machine and it sounds better than most of the music recordings we hear now, age notwithstanding.  You have to hear it to believe it!


The great music artists are enduring because they find a way to get their heart, soul and feelings in those grooves in a way few can find.  Wilson did and that is why this amazing album is making the big comeback it deserves.  Any serious music fan should find this a must-have set.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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