Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Wet Willie

  • Wet Willie [Capricorn, 1971] C
  • Wet Willie's Greatest Hits [Capricorn, 1977] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Wet Willie [Capricorn, 1971]
If any of you is sufficiently impressed by the Allman Brothers to settle for an imitation, here it is, with great cover art and a touch of declamation for flavoring. C

Wet Willie's Greatest Hits [Capricorn, 1977]
Alone among Southern boogiemen, the Willies have avoided country as in c&w for country as in funk, and their rhythm section gets away with it--drummer Lewis Ross and bass player Jack Hall are all juke-joint bump-and-grind. In a better world they'd be rednecks in a soul band, but as it is they're stuck in a group with two problems--singer and songs. (Oops, forgot the guitarist, which isn't hard.) Jimmy Hall supposedly combines Ronnie Van Zant's discretion with Gregg Allman's power, but to me he sounds like a cross between Chris Youlden and Lonesome Dave Peverett--with an authentic accent, of course. And although their one lucky strike has been the reggaeish "Keep On Smilin'," most of the time they strive fruitlessly for r&b tunes as inescapably elementary as the here-included "Shout Bamalama" and "Grits Ain't Groceries." I guarantee you that Little Milton isn't going to return the favor and cover "Leona" or even "Baby Fat." But maybe Stoney Edwards would do "Airport." B-