BGO's 2013 double-disc set pairs Wet Willie
's 1976 studio LP The Wetter the Better
and its live 1977 follow-up, Left Coast Live
. The Wetter the Better
captures Wet Willie at its absolute slickest (some would argue at its sleaziest as well, but only the album cover reaches such levels of greasiness). It's a SoCal soft rock record with a hint of a Southern boogie beat, all dressed in layers of harmonies, punchy horns, and sweetly dirty guitars. There aren't many standout songs here -- no hits, but the jam "Baby Fat" is turned into a live staple, "Teaser" rides an efficient L.A. groove, and "No No No" is a nifty little tune -- but this is a good-vibe record, one that effortlessly captures the thick polyester grooves of the mid-'70s. Left Coast Live
emphasizes that hard-driving boogie almost to a fault, but this is a better representation of what Wet Willie was all about: long, winding jams that emphasize the beat as much as guitar solos. Neither are prime Wet Willie, but both albums have their charms, and it's nice to be able to get them in a convenient package.