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Keep On Smilin'/Dixie Rock

Keep On Smilin'/Dixie Rock

by Wet Willie, Jimmy Hall Wet Willie
Keep On Smilin'/Dixie Rock

Keep On Smilin'/Dixie Rock

by Wet Willie, Jimmy Hall Wet Willie


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Geography alone conspired to lump Wet Willie in with the Southern rockers who waved the rebel flag across the '70s. Sure, they called sweet "Alabama" home, and Macon, GA, was where they gradually built their reputation, but these good ol' boys were attuned to a somewhat different Southern tradition than the likes of the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, et al. Sure, the pretty ode to their native state was a pure and patriotic Southern rock ballad, while "Spanish Moss" had that lovely guitar picking so essential to the genre, but the rest of Keep on Smilin', their fourth album, hammers their banner to another flagpole entirely. "Soul Sister" crisply salutes mid-'60s Stax and "Soul Jones" follows that label straight into funk, as does the Southern-fried "Country Side of Life." "Trust in the Lord" heads straight to church, with the band's backing Williettes providing the gospel chorus to the group's boogie revival. "In Our Hearts" is built to boogie as well, but interlaced with contemporary jazz. In contrast, numbers like "Lucy Was in Trouble" and "Don't Wait Too Long" shift into the smoother sounds of the then-current R&B scene. With its unique blend of white rock and black R&B, 1974's Keep on Smilin' proved to be Wet Willie's breakout, taking them for the first (and only time) into the Top 50, and the Willies' follow-up, 1975's Dixie Rock, continued to plow this fertile but rarely tilled musical field. The title track, as one would expect, was precisely as advertised, except for Jimmy Hall's soulful Otis Redding-inspired vocals; "Leona" was the set's other Southern rocker; and "It's Gonna Stop Rainin' Soon" showcased their country skills. Intriguingly, the set's one religious number, "He Set Me Free," is this time delivered via a hymnal chorus, instead of the rollicking gospel featured on their last set. A number of other tracks favors flashy R&B in all its garbs, with funky rhythms raging from the Stax-styled to the Stylistics-inspired. They'd reaped much of this harvest the last time around, but now they sow new fields on the slide guitar-laced "It's Gonna Stop Rainin' Soon" and 12-bar blues of "Mama Didn't Raise No Fools," before sitting down on the porch for a well-deserved rest across the pure fingerpicking and harmonica-laced blues of "Jailhouse Moan." Both these albums were superb, although the latter set inexplicably didn't even break the Top 100. Bringing the pair together on one CD is a no-brainer, capturing the Willies at their most inspired heights.

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Product Details

Release Date: 06/16/2009
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
UPC: 5017261208736
catalogNumber: 6120873
Rank: 42770


  1. Country Side of Life
  2. Keep on Smilin'
  3. Trust in the Lord
  4. Soul Sister
  5. Alabama
  6. Lucy Was in Trouble
  7. Soul Jones
  8. Don't Wait Too Long
  9. Spanish Moss
  10. In Our Hearts
  11. She's My Lady
  12. Ain't He a Mess
  13. Dixie Rock
  14. Poor Judge of Character
  15. Mama Didn't Raise No Fools
  16. It's Gonna Stop Rainin' Soon
  17. Jailhouse Moan
  18. He Set Me Free
  19. Leona
  20. Take It to the Music

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wet Willie   Primary Artist
Jimmy Hall   Harmonica,Percussion,Alto Saxophone,Vocals,Group Member
Lewis Ross   Percussion,Conga,Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
John Anthony   Percussion,Rhythm Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Ella Avery   Vocals,Group Member
Tom Dowd   Percussion
Mike Duke   Background Vocals
Donna Hall   Vocals,Group Member
Jack Hall   Banjo,Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Mama Hall   Piano
Susan Hall   Vocals,Group Member
Ricky Hirsch   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Bottleneck Guitar,Group Member
Joyce Knight   Vocals,Background Vocals
Williettes   Background Vocals
Rick Hirsch   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Bottleneck Guitar,Group Member
Jimmy Hall & the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Collective   Harmonica,Percussion,Alto Saxophone,Vocals,Group Member
Hall Country Singers   Vocals
Joyce Knight   Background Vocals
Earl 'Bone' Ford   Trombone

Technical Credits

Jimmy Hall   Composer
Lewis Ross   Composer
John Anthony   Composer
Ella Avery   Composer
Tom Dowd   Producer,Audio Production
Jack Hall   Composer
Ricky Hirsch   Composer
Ovie Sparks   Engineer
Sam Whiteside   Engineer
Tony Humphries   Engineer
Bruce Eder   Liner Notes
Richard Mantel   Art Direction
Chez Dowd   Audio Production

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