Wet Willie in Tuscaloosa #4
Alabama Music Office.com goes to the historic Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to see Wet Willie and opening act, Bad Brad and The Sipsey Slims playing for The Alabama Blues Project benefit.
THE WET WILLIE BAND- As a legion of fans will attest, Wet Willie was perhaps the hardest rocking of all the 70s era Southern Rock bands, after the Allmans and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band issued an enviable array of rollicking, high energy, soulful blues-rock classics, including the national chart-topping anthem Keep On Smilin. ---- Today Wet Willie continues to excite fans with their live performances, and they appear live in two distinct formats: The Wet Willie Band consists of original members Jack Hall on bass, John Anthony ..boards, T.K. Lively on the drums, and Jacks sister Donna D Hall on vocals and harmonies. Ric Seymour, with the band for over a decade plays guitar and handles lead and backing vocals, while Ricky Chancey plays blues harp and guitar. ---- When scheduling permits, original lead vocalist Jimmy Hall appears, and the band is billed as Wet Willie, featuring Jimmy Hall. ---- In 1969 Wet Willie got together in Mobile behind the powerful vocals, sax and harp of Jimmy Hall, with his brother Jack on bass. Ricky Hirsch played lead guitar, John Anthony was on the keys, and Lewis Ross was the drummer. Early influences included the Stones, Animals and Taj Mahal, but their sound was closer in spirit to early Otis Redding or Little Richard- which made their move to Macon, Ga in 1970 a natural one. After all, Macon was the hometown of Redding and Richard, as well as the headquarters of newly-formed Capricorn Records. Wet Willie auditioned for Capricorn and were hard at work on their debut album by the Fall of the same year. ---- In contrast to Capricorn label-mates the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tuckers long guitar jams, Wet Willie was steeped in sweaty, good-time R&B- a potent gumbo of soulful rock and funky rhythm and blues with fiery vocals that helped define Southern Rock. ---- The band went on to release six albums for Capricorn, including Drippin Wet, recorded live in New Orleans, which perhaps best captured Wet Willies energetic live show. Their fourth release, Keep On Smilin gave them a hit with the title track. The addition of the Williettes, featuring sister Donna Hall, enhanced the groups sound further with a gospel and soul sensibility. Other popular tracks recorded during their Capricorn years include Countryside of Life, Leona and Dixie Rock. ---- In 1978 Wet Willie reformed with a new line-up and a contract with Epic Records. Founding brothers Jimmy and Jack Hall were joined by additional members Mike Duke ..boards, drummer T.K. Lively, and guitarists Larry Berwald and Marshall Smith. The Epic albums, Manorisms and Which Ones Willie? yielded two more chart hits- Streetcorner Serenade and Weekend. ---- After pursuing other interests in the 1980s, Wet Willie re-emerged in the 90s and started accepting select concert dates around the Southeast. In 1990 the band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and in March of 2001 was also honored by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.