Larry Berwald - guitar; Mike Duke - keyboards, vocals; Jack Hall - bass, vocals; Jimmy Hall - vocals, harmonica, saxophone,; Theophilus K. Lively - drums, vocals; Marshall Smith - guitar, vocals
This is the second of two incredible King Biscuit Flower Hour live recordings made of Southern-rock kings Wet Willie. Made in December of 1977, just after the band had left its home at Capricorn Records to expand its musical horizons on Epic Records, this show is one of the best sonic and dynamic performances available at Wolfgang's Vault. Because the band presented a saucy blend of rock, blues, and soul music (wrapped up in a distinct Southern flavor), they were equally received both in their native Southern states and large Northeast markets such as New York City, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
This set list is almost completely different from the early show (also available at this site), and excels with stunning versions of "Grits Ain't Groceries," Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too," the gospel-driven "Trust In The Lord," and the band's own Top 10 hit single "Keep On Smilin'"
Formed in 1969 in Mobile, Alabama under the name Fox, Wet Willie were developed behind the dynamic vocals and stage presence of Jimmy Hall. The original line up included Hall, Hall's brother Jack on bass, guitarist and songwriter Ricky Hersh on guitar, Lewis Stone on drums, and John Anthony on keyboards (later replaced by Mike Duke). Being influenced by a mix of classic Brit rock like the Animals and the Rolling Stones, and the best of American soul music coming out of Motown and the STAX building in Memphis, the band soon changed its name to Wet Willie and moved to Macon, Georgia, where former Little Richard and Otis Redding manager Phil Walden was launching Capricorn, a label designed to promoted Southern-based rock acts.
Walden signed Wet Willie and helped them turn into one of the most dynamic live acts south of the Mason-Dixon line. Jimmy Hall's brilliant voice and the band's solid mix of soulful funk and country-rock made it a favorite of critics and Southern-rock fans. They hit pay dirt in 1974 with the Top 10 hit "Keep On Smiling." The band built a solid touring reputation, but never made the breakthrough to super stardom as the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd had done.
In 1976, Wet Willie moved over to Epic and replaced drummer Lewis Stone with TK Lively; and replaced Hersh with two guitarists: Larry Berwald and Marshall Smith. Although Manorisms received rave reviews and the new show was just as good as the previous one, the group failed to make a significant dent in the changing music scene with its two Epic albums. They dissolved in 1980, but re-grouped in the mid-'90s. They continue today, recording and touring on occasion.