Wet Willie is hailing from Mobile, Alabama and was hugely popular in 70’s. Nowadays they are mainly remembered for their biggest hit Keep You Smilin’, which broke into top ten, but Wet Willie has a strong catalogue of songs from Country Side of Life to Dixie Rock.
Wet Willie started under the name Fox, but eventually changed it to Wet Willie. Their classic line-up consisted of Jimmy Hall on vocals and saxophone, his brother, Jack Hall on bass, Ricky Hersch on guitar, Lewis Ross on drums and John Anthony on keyboards. Wet Willie also had back-up singers performing under the name The Williettes, that featured third Hall, Donna and at one time, future The Honkettes member, Leslie Hawkins from Lynyrd Skynyrd fame.
After relocating to Macon, Georgia they landed a recording deal with mighty Capricorn Records and began working on their self-titled debut album. First two albums didn’t get much attention, but the third one, live album Drippin’ Wet reached the charts and next studio effort, Keep On Smilin’ lifted the title track to top ten.
Not quite as blues-based as label mates The Allman Brothers Band, or country, like The Marshall Tucker Band, album by album, Wet Willie created their own blend of soulful southern rock based on vocal harmonies. Follow-ups Dixie Rock and The Wetter the Better sold well and by mid seventies Wet Willie was performing in front of huge audiences.
Right before Capricorn Records folded for the first time in late seventies, Wet Willie broke up, but Hall brothers Jimmy and Jack soon got back together with new members and released Manorisms and Which One Is Willie?, both influenced heavily by Motown-type of singing harmonies, but neither one of them sold well and Wet Willie called it a day in 1980.
The band got back together in 90’s and there are currently two versions of Wet Willie: When Jimmy Hall has time to front the band, they go by the name Wet Willie and when he is unavailable, guitarist Ric Seymour handles lead vocals and they perform under the name Wet Willie Band.
Wet Willie videos
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Wet Willie Discography:
1971 Wet Willie
1972 Wet Willie II
1973 Drippin’ Wet (Live)
1974 Keep On Smilin’
1975 Dixie Rock
1976 The Wetter the Better
1977 Left Coast Live
1977 Greatest Hits
1979 Which One’s Willie?
1994 The Best of Wet Willie (Live)
2003 The Millennium Collection: The Best of Wet Willie
2004 High Humidity (Live)
2005 Epic Willie (Collection)
2006 Playing Live Tonight: The Wet Willie Band
Wet Willie Links:
Official website: www.ktb.net/~insync/wet_willie.html
Wet Willie Band Links:
Official website: www.wetwilliemusic.com