Wet Willie

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Wet Willie

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Wet Willie released five of its seven studio albums on Capricorn Records between 1971 and 1976, with the remaining two appearing on Epic in 1978 and 1979. Since Capricorn's catalog is in the hands of Universal and Epic's is owned by Sony, putting together a best-of drawn from the vaults of two competing major labels would be a challenge. That challenge is not addressed on this discount-priced compilation, which considers only the Capricorn years. That means the compiler is able to include the band's only Top Ten hit, "Keep on Smilin'" (and he does, as the opening track), as well as subsequent singles chart entries "Country Side of Life," "Leona," "Dixie Rock," and "Everything That 'Cha Do (Will Come Back to You)." But he is unable to use the Top 40 hits "Street Corner Serenade" and "Weekend" that appeared on Epic. Filling up the album's 45-minute running time are impressive album tracks such as covers of Otis Redding's "Shout Bamalama" and Little Milton's "Grits Ain't Groceries" (aka "All Around the World") that confirm the band's affection for Deep South R&B. Wet Willie was more closely tied to such late-'60s soul music than its peers in the Southern rock movement of the early '70s, and this collection confirms that the band played it with conviction.

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