Gary Wilson - "Dream(s)" / "Soul Travel"
Gary Wilson has long enjoyed acclaim from a select and passionate international audience. Those who appreciate and delve into the intersecting worlds of the avant-garde, experimental music, performance art, rare records, and early DIY music releases have constituted the cult-icon's following since the late 70s. And as coveted as Mr. Wilson's brilliantly eccentric works are, his music has - against all odds - consistently found a significantly wider audience proving that it is the art itself (rather than sheer collectibility) which explains the enduring appeal of Mr. Wilson.
While many fans and journalists point to the classic and self-released You Think You Really Know Me album as the beginning of Mr. Wilson's fascinating and unique body of work, he was in fact active as a performer and recording artist before that, as evidenced by the vinyl "Dream(s)" / "Soul Travel" release. In addition to an exceptionally rare original copy of the 45, we've also tracked down a newspaper ad that Gary placed several times to secure funding for his self-released music.
After finding a new and wider audience thanks to the Motel Records Wilson compilation Forgotten Lovers (2003, not to be confused with Gary's self-released 1980 EP with the same title), and again on Peanut Butter Wolf's Chrome Children (2006), the presence of these jazz and funk-tinged instrumentals in popular culture and consciousness is surprisingly resilient, and has even grown exponentially in recent years. "Dream(s)" appears in the first season of Narcos in 2015 (episode 4), and notably Questlove played "Soul Travel" at the Golden Globes on January 8, 2017, immediately following Meryl Streep's speech.
We recently sat down with Gary to obtain as much first-hand information about this mysterious release as possible. In March, 2018 Mr. Wilson gave us background information about the single's creative impetus, funding, recording, and pressing:
"I put the ad in the paper after Another Galaxy*. Fusion was happening, and a lot of the jazz-fusion guys were putting out disco singles. There was Barry White, Herbie Hancock, and all that, so I thought, 'Well, let me try an instrumental in that vein.' I put an ad in the paper to try to get someone to finance the single, and perhaps my little record label I was trying to start back then. You found the ad, which is amazing.
I met with the guy [who financed the single], and he was a psychiatrist. I don’t remember his name. He thought it might be fun to dabble in the music scene, and it was very nice of him. He pressed the records. My sister Patti was majoring in the arts in college and did the logo for Twenty-Second Century.
I recorded them at Pyramid Sound in New York. It was Gary Iacovelli on drums, Chris Putrino on guitar, and I played keyboards and bass. We had a real good conga player you can hear on “Soul Travel”. He showed up just for the session, and did a real good job."
*A note on the date of the "Dream(s) / "Soul Travel" 45: We're currently not able to reconcile the date of the ad ad with the supposed 1973 release of the 45 (a date attributed by some sites on the internet, and perhaps supported by the 573-18A and 573-18B numbers seen on the label). Mr. Wilson remembers that "My mother passed away in 1973 when I was nineteen years old, and I remember at that time playing with bands and saving up money to press a record....it could be around 1975 that I placed the ad in the press for "Soul Travel". Another Galaxy was before 'Dream(s)'." If the single was truly released in 1973, the ad seen here that was placed by Gary would have appeared after the single's release, as well as that of Another Galaxy.