Wet Willie

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Wet Willie
OriginMobile, Alabama, United States
GenresSouthern rock
Years active1970–present
LabelsCapricorn; Epic; Hittin' The Note
Associated actsJimmy Hall
The Wet Willie Band
Deep South
Drippin' Wet
MembersJimmy Hall
Jack Hall
Donna Hall Foster
T.K. Lively
Ric Seymour
Ricky Chancey
Bobby Mobley
Past membersLewis Ross
Ricky Hirsch
John David Anthony
Wick Larsen
Ella Brown Avery
Elkie Brooks
Leslie Hawkins
Mike Duke
Marshall Smith
Larry Berwald

Wet Willie is an American band from Mobile, Alabama, U.S. They are best known for their hit "Keep On Smilin'," which reached No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in August 1974, but they had a number of charted songs in the 1970s utilizing their soulful brand of Southern rock.


Drummer Lewis Ross assembled the musicians for a group called "Fox" in the summer of 1969 and after relocating from Mobile, Alabama to Macon, Georgia, home of Capricorn Records, became known as "Wet Willie". [1] Wet Willie is a versatile, high-energy Southern rock band that, from 1971 until 1978, produced an array of albums awash in good-time music, rollicking high-energy blues-rock, and Southern soul while releasing several charting singles and achieving one Top Ten hit and a lot of admirers.[2] They toured and recorded extensively from 1969 through the early Eighties, and they still perform today in two slightly different versions, depending on whether Jimmy Hall is present. When Hall is with the band, it is billed as Wet Willie; otherwise, it is billed as The Wet Willie Band.

Band members[edit]

The core members of the band during that period were Jimmy Hall, vocals, harmonica, saxophone; Jimmy's brother Jack Hall on bass; John David Anthony on keyboards; Ricky Hirsch on guitar, and Lewis Ross on drums and percussion. Wick Larsen was added as a second guitarist for a brief stay during the Wet Willie II album period. The duo of girls singing background vocals dubbed "The Williettes" were staple of the classic Wet Willie sound that featured Jimmy & Jack's sister, Donna Hall and Ella Brown Avery. For a short period of time in 1974 UK singer Elkie Brooks joined the band as a backing singer, as did future Honkette Leslie Hawkins. Michael Duke debuted on the album Dixie Rock adding keyboards and vocals and stayed with the band through their tenure in the Southern Rock era. A period of personnel and record label changes followed and in 1978 with a new Epic Records contract the new line-up included Jimmy and Jack Hall, Mike Duke, drummer T.K. Lively, and guitarists Marshall Smith and Larry Berwald through the early 80's. After a brief hiatus the band regrouped in the early 90’s featuring the siblings Jimmy, Jack and Donna Hall, original keyboardist John David Anthony and drummer T.K. Lively as well as long-time members guitarists Ric Seymour and Ricky Chancey.


Wet Willie put out several albums on Capricorn Records between 1971 and 1977. Along with a "Greatest Hits" album released on Polydor Records, they also released two more final studio albums on Epic Records, although some hits collections and further live recordings have been released as recently as 2006. Perhaps their best-known LP is the 1973 live album, Drippin' Wet, but their main claim to fame is the hit single, "Keep On Smilin,'" which reached No. 10 on the Billboard singles chart. They also enjoyed some other Billboard-charted songs with "Country Side of Life," "Everything That 'Cha Do (Will Come Back to You)", "Leona," and from their Epic Records period, "Street Corner Serenade" and "Weekend" from the LPs Manorisms and Which One's Willie?

Current formations[edit]

In 2012 Wet Willie released a new live CD "Miles of Smiles" on the Hittin' The Note Records label. They continue to tour with three original members including original lead singer Jimmy Hall, brother Jack Hall on bass and vocals, sister Donna Hall Foster on vocals as well as other long time members, drummer T.K. Lively, Ric Seymour on guitar and vocals, Ricky Chancey on guitar and newest member, keyboardist Bobby Mobley.


  • America’s Music Award from the Alabama Hall of Fame - 1976
  • Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame - 2014


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details US
Wet Willie
  • Release date: 1971
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
Wet Willie II
  • Release date: 1972
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
Keep On Smilin'
  • Release date: 1974
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
Dixie Rock
  • Release date: 1975
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
The Wetter The Better
  • Release date: 1976
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
  • Release date: November 14, 1977
  • Label: Epic
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
Which One's Willie?
  • Release date: 1979
  • Label: Epic
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums[edit]

Title Details US
Drippin' Wet
  • Release date: 1973
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
Left Coast Live
  • Release date: 1977
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
The Best of Wet Willie
Miles of Smiles
  • Release date: 2012
  • Label: Hittin' the Note Records
  • Formats: CD

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Details US
Greatest Hits
  • Release date: 1977
  • Label: Capricorn
  • Formats: LP, Cassette, 8-track
The Best of Wet Willie (20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection)
  • Release date: 2003
  • Label: Mercury
  • Formats: CD
Epic Willie (The Epic Recordings)
  • Release date: 2005
  • Label: Acadia
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Source: Allmusic.com[3]


Year Single US Hot 100
1971 "Rock & Roll Band"
1972 "Shout Bamalama"
1974 "Keep On Smilin'" 10
"Country Side of Life" 66
1975 "Leona" 69
"Dixie Rock" 96
1976 "Ring You Up"
"Baby Fat"
"Everything That 'cha Do" 66
1977 "Street Corner Serenade" 30
1978 "Make You Feel Love Again" 45
1979 "Weekend" 29


  1. ^ "The Official Wet Willie Page". Retrieved 2007-09-10.
  2. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Wet Willie - Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  3. ^ "Wet Willie - Discography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2007-03-26.

External links[edit]