Forgotten Lovers is the illuminating companion to geek-funk lothario Gary Wilson's 1977 masterpiece You Think You Really Know Me. A cult record if there ever was one, Wilson's home-recorded debut would influence numerous independent music tastemakers, including Beck, the Make-Up, and Magnetic Fields. But it was a one-off, a fluke, the twisted genius product of a lonely guy busting snarky, R-rated pickup lines on a cardboard cutout of Joan Crawford in his parents' basement. You Think You Really Know Me was so far ahead of its time, it was behind itself. 2003 sees the release of Forgotten Lovers, assembled from Wilson's previously unreleased material, rarities, and vinyl-only pressings from 1973 to 1982. Its awkward funk experiments "You Took Me on a Walk Into My Mirror," Jonathan Richman-style sour grapes "It's So Sad to Be Alone," and bizarre space jazz trips ("Chrome Lover," on which Wilson warbles "Make out! Make out!" repeatedly) are the stuff of creepy genius. "Rhythm in Your Eyes," recorded with Wilson's part-time backup band the Blind Dates, would be a remake of Beck's "Hollywood Freaks" if Wilson hadn't recorded it 20 years before Midnite Vultures ever came out. Some of Wilson's material is more challenging; strange jazz-funk interludes and some odd sampling choices might deter some listeners. And Wilson's vocal phrasing is an acquired taste. But overall, Forgotten Lovers is an odd, yet eminently listenable album, of special interest for anyone who sees You Think You Really Know Me as only the tip of the Gary Wilson iceberg.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus