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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Wet Willie - 1979 Which One's Willie
 
Wet Willie - 1979 Which One's Willie



ARTIST: Wet Willie
ALBUM: Which One's Willie
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: JE 35794
YEAR: 1979

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jimmy Hall - vocals * Marshall Smith - guitar * Larry Berwald - guitar * Jack Hall - bass * T.K. Lively - drums * Mike Duke - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ramona * 02 Stop And Take A Look * 03 Weekend * 04 Smoke * 05 The Hard Way * 06 Tired Dreams * 07 This Time * 08 Mr Streamline * 09 You Don't Know What You Mean To Me


Background
Wet Willie were one of many Southern acts to emerge in the early seventies, although unlike their contemporaries, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Marshall Tucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few, they never made the commercial dent of their peers, remaining a cult act, still in existence to this day. 'Which One's Willie' was the final album of their career to that point, with only two members of the original lineup intact, Jimmy and Jack Hall. The band had signed to Epic in the hope of finally breaking big after years on the Capricorn label, but it wasn't to be, despite 'Weekend' being a minor hit. Predictably, but encouragingly, the band had adopted a more radio based melodic edge in opposition to their Southern roots, a tactic so familiar that it was practically obligatory for bands of that heritage.


The Songs
'Ramona' isn't a strong opener, very light with an abundance of pop overtones, essentially Southern but not hitting any major heights, purely good time rock. Horns play a major part in the sound, to the forefront during 'Stop And Take A Look', which like the opener is harmless light rock. 'Weekend' shines as a piece of disco AOR, the keyboards more obvious, the Southern element kept alive by a harmonica solo. Hearty gospel backing vocals form the basis for 'Smoke' as does a fine melodic guitar solo, adding some needed tension. Of a higher calibre is the near West Coast AOR of 'The Hard Way' and 'Tired Dreams' which make this worth hearing alone. The band takes a page from the Electric Light Orchestra for 'This Time', the bouncy disco beat combined with string work recalling ELO's 'Evil Woman' slightly, this far more jubilant in its approach. 'Mr Streamline' provides compulsory sax with some funky bass lines, before a token Southern throwback, 'You Don't Know What You Mean To Me', which pleased fans from the bands early 70's days I'm sure. I'll take the bands AOR meddlings instead.


In Summary
This was the bands last hurrah for a long period until an altered lineup formed in the nineties I believe. Of the bands output this remains the only album not to have made it to CD thus far according to various sources and is much sought as a result. As a representation of the bands progression into melodic ventures it suggested a bright future. It may have strayed far from their roots especially with only two originals remaining, but it was either move with the times or be forgotten. Wet Willie did this but faded anyway. Incredibly the band recently issued a brand new album, 'High Humidity', their first since this genuine melodic offering.


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