Mickey Gilley

You Don't Know Me

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Mickey Gilley was on a hot streak from the mid-'70s through the mid-'80s, and You Don't Know Me, produced by Jim Ed Norman for Epic Records, is another chapter in the Gilley odyssey that ends triumphantly despite the fact that the piano sound isn't as badass on this set, because Gilley only kicks on two cuts. But it's a small annoyance. Beginning with the crazy boogie rockabilly "Ladies Night," this is a set of pure inspiration, even though Norman tries to make it sound like it was recorded at Gilley's -- dumb, but the feel is live, as the tracks were cut live on the floor of the studio with some overdubs being done later. "My Affection" continues the stomping rockabilly of the opener, with Gilley actually hammering the hell out of the ivories on this one before a slow honky tonk drinking song called "Drinking Old Memories Down," the other track with the inimitable Gilley "spider-on-the-keys" sound. Side two opens with Gilley's lovely and moving version of the Eddy Arnold classic that is the title cut. And the rest of the album is on the ballad side, which is fine since Gilley's singing is down in the groove with the darkest of emotions when necessary. "Lonely Nights," the Keith Stegall nugget, brings it all home and sets up a beautifully rendered version of Carl Rains' "Clinging to a Memory." If the first two tracks feel misleading, they're not; they're just one part of the good-time man's mystique and character. This is a fine set.

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