Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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from a page 34 article in the April 21, 1973 issue of RECORD WORLD

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MACON- It was about three years ago that a shaggy-looking outfit called WET WILLIE rolled into Macon. Little did anyone know that Wet Willie (usually known locally as a wet index finger in the ear) would have a new definition: a rock and roll band. There are five in WET WILLIE and they are all from Mobile, Alabama. They have all grown up together, running through the usual high school band evolution.

WET WILLIE is : Jimmy Hall, lead vocals, harmonica and alto sax; Jack Hall (Jimmy's brother), bass guitar; Rick Hirsch, lead guitar; John Anthony, keyboards; and Lewis Ross, drums. All are in their mid-twenties and have been rocking for at least nine years.

When the band first arrived in Macon, Phil Walden and Frank Fenter arranged for an audition at the studio. Upon completion of the audition, the band signed across the board: to Phil Walden and Associates for management, Capricorn Records, and to No Exit Music for publishing. The band also signed with the Paragon Agency for bookings.

After the signing was completed, WET WILLIE set out to play the southern club circuit, just as the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and many others had before them. In May, 1971, Eddie Offord,who had engineered EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, and YES, flew to Macon from London to begin producing WET WILLIE's first album. The album was recorded at Capricorn Sound and was released in August. Upon release on the album, WET WILLIE immediately went on tour with the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, touring throughout the east coast and the south (including a concert at New York's Carnegie Hall). They played many dates on the west coast and returned to tour extensively throughout the south. Now, next to THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, WET WILLIE is one of the biggest acts in the south.

May, 1972 rolled around, and with it came Eddie Offord once again from London. This time, WET WILLIE was to record their second album at Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama due to the re-building of the Capricorn Studio. The album, cleverly entitled "Wet Willie II," was released in late September, 1972,  and again a nationwide tour was set up.

On December 31, 1972 at the Warehouse in New Orleans, WET WILLIE was appearing in concert with THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND. The plan of action was to record WET WILLIE and The Brothers live, and the plan was executed brilliantly. Location Recorders came down from New York, and almost the entire Capricorn staff was there. Dick Wooley, Capricorn's national promotion director set up a network of AM and FM radio stations, 40 in all, to broadcast the event live from New Orleans. An estimated 10 million people were listening as WET WILLIE was recording their live album to be entitle "Drippin' Wet."

Currently, WET WILLIE is involved in yet another nationwide tour, this time with JEFF BECK's new group. The tour will last for eight weeks beginning on the east coast and ending on the west, where the band will join up with THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and re-play the west coast.

Via the guidance of Phil Walden. and Associates, Capricorn Records and the Paragon Agency, WET WILLIE has established themselves as an important musical force within today's complex music structure. They are not an overnight sensation, but be assured, they will be makin' music in Macon for years to come.


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