Our Top 10 Wet Willie Songs list takes a look at a band that stands as one of the most underrated rock bands of the past fifty years. The group Wet Willie has presented fans with a wonderful blend or southern rock, a little Dixie and a whole lot of soul. Their sound seemed to be inspired by many of the great Stax bands of the 1960s. They have been often labeled as a southern rock band. That label has been fueled by the fact that band was from Mobile, Alabama and were signed to the Allman Brothers Band label Capricorn Records. While at times, their are distinctive southern rock textures in their music and performances, the band’s sound, melodies and rhythms have always strayed more towards the r&b side of town. It just depends on what your listening for.
At the heart of the band Wet Willie has always been the band’s incredible vocal performances both on record and the concert stage. Standing in front of the vocal microphone has been the incredibly talented Jimmy Hall. The man stands as one of the greatest singers of all time. You will second that notion once you start listening to these great songs we have presented here. Behind Jimmy Hall on vocals have always been a group of wonderful back up singers. Over time these singers included Donna Hall, Ella Brown Avery, Elkie Brooks and Honkette Leslie Hawkins. The original band members included Ricky Hirsch on guitar, Jack Hall on bass, Lewis Ross on drums and John David Anthony on keys. Over time there have been many lineup changes to the band.
Wet Willie has released seven studio albums throughout their career. All their studio albums were released between the years 1971 and 1979. The group has also released a series of live albums. They have continued to tour throughout the years sometimes with Jimmy Hall at the helm and sometimes without him.
# 10 – Grits Ain’t Groceries
We wanted top open up our Top 10 Wet Willis Songs list with a great one. Wet Willie’s “Grits Ain’t Groceries,” sure fits that description, What we always loved about Wet Willie was their merging of southern blues with r&b which really makes sense if one understands the history of both genres, Nonetheless, Wet Willie were and still are one of the best at merging the genres. It’s all defined right here on this great track “Grits Ain’t Groceries.”
Listen to the r&b rhythm guitar, the soul infused backing vocals and the dripping blues rock voice of Jimmy Hall. Oh yeah “Grits Ain’t Groceries,” was originally released by Little Milton in 1968 on Checker Records. Wet Willie released the song on their second album entitled Wet Willie II in 1972.
# 9 – Macon Hambone Blues
Like any great genuine rock and roll band, the place where their talents will shine the brightest is on the concert stage. Wet Willie has always had a reputation for being a fantastic live group. The band toured with the Allman Brothers Band in the early 1970s. These guys kill it on the performance of “Macon Hambone Blues.” Listen to that guitar solo. Amen!
The track “Macon Hambone Blues,” presented here on our Wet Willie songs list was released on the Wet Willie Live album entitled Drippin’ Wet. The album was released in 1973.
# 8 – Airport
“Airport,” was another great track from Wet Willie’s second album entitled Wet Willie II. Just dig that guitar and groovy piano comping. And that piano trill gets me every time. I can listen to this one over and over again. At times, this band also reminded me of Grand Funk, especially on the lead vocals on this track.
# 7 – Shout Bamalama
The great Wet Willie track “Shout Bamalama” will knock you out of your seat and up onto your rock and roll feat. You cant sit down listening to this one. Echoes of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Traveling Band,” resonate throughout this great track especially on the lead vocal line. Everybody Shout It!
# 6 – Everything That ‘Cha Do (Will Come Back To You)
Every band in the 1970s was somehow affected by the emergence of disco in 1976. Even the Rolling Stones who released “Miss You,” in 1978 were clearly inspired by the disco groove that dominated pop culture in the mid 1970s. Some bands did it their own way, others did not. Wet Willie’s great song “Everything That ‘Cha Do (Will Come Back To You),” was a product of the times and an awesome product at that.
# 5 – Country Side Of Life
Listen to those backing vocals on this great song. The guitar, the groove, its just all sounds so good. One of our favorite aspects of the great Wet Willie Band has always been the female backing vocals. They always seemed to be so inspired by those classic Stax Records. Throw in a little Lynyrd Skynyrd and you got Wet Willie. You need to check out this track. Every second of it. The great song “Country Side of Life,” was released in 1974. It was issued on the band’s Keep On Smilin’ album.
# 4 – Leona
Somewhere between Foghat, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd lies the great Wet Willie Band. And speaking of Lynyrd Skynyrd, I think they may have been listening to this song when they composed “What’s You Name,” a few years later. This cool Wet Willie song was released on the Dixie Rock album in 1975.
# 3 – Weekend
Continuing with our top 10 Wet Willie Songs list we turn to the great Wet Willie album entitled Which One’s Willie? The album was released in 1979. At the height of new wave, Wet Willie maintained their southern r&B groove infused style with his classic party song entitled “Weekend.” Oh those horns, backing vocals, guitars and Jimmy Hall’s fantastic vocal are just simply to die for, but wait until after the weekend.
# 2 – Keep On Smilin’
As we close in on the top spot of our Top 10 Wet Willie songs list we present the band’s biggest hit of their career. Everyone has their own favorite Wet Willie songs including us, but there’s no denying that “Keep On Smiling,” was the band’s biggest hit. The song became a top 10 hit for Wet Willie in 1974. It was released on the album entitled Keep On Smilin’.
# 1 – Street Corner Serenade
We close our out our top 10 Wet Willie Songs list with our favorite Wet Willie song of all time. The great song “Street Corner Serenade,” brings us back in time every time we hear it. If there ever was a song that demonstrated on how great of band this was from a vocal standpoint, it was “Street Corner Serenade.” Jimmy Hall sounds like a young Van Morrison surrounded by the Temptations. Everything that fuels the classic pop songs of the 20th century were present on this great track.
“Street Corner Serenade,” was released on the Manorisms album. The record was released in 1977. The song “Street Corner Serenade,” was a top thirty hit in the United States peaking at number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.