b. Wilson John Turbinton, 6th February 1944, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 11th September 2007, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Willie Tee's mid-'60s soul sides are acknowledged as classics on the Carolinas' beach music circuit.
He was playing the piano at the age of three, inspired by his older brother Earl's work with the saxophone and flute.
In 1952, the Turbinton family relocated to the city's Calliope Street housing projects.
Whilst at school, Willie's music teacher, Harold Battiste, recruited Turbinton to his jazz combo the AFO Band (All for One).
With the band, he recorded his 1962 debut single, 'Always Accused'. On leaving AFO, Willie formed the Souls with bassist George Davis and drummer David Lee.
Willie signed with the Nola imprint, a new label formed by his cousin, Ulis Gaines, journalist Clint Scott, and producer/arranger Wardell Quezergue.
His 1965 Nola debut, 'Teasin' You,' not only became the label's first local hit, but was recorded by blue-eyed soul singers the Righteous Brothers.
Atlantic licensed his original for national distribution, flipped by 'Walking up a One-Way Street'.
This was followed by 'Thank You John' and 'I Want Somebody (To Show Me the Way Back Home)'.
Atlantic then released Tee from his contract, and his next single, 'Please Don't Go,' appeared on Nola's Hot-Line subsidiary. In 1968 Nola folded and Willie co-founded Gatur Records, releasing 'I Peeped Your Hole Card'.
In 1969 Willie co-wrote Margie Joseph's 'One More Chance' for the Stax subsidiary Volt.
Willie's first-ever LP, 'I'm Only a Man', appeared in 1970 on Capitol, however the Gatur imprint saw a new lease of life, with Willie releasing 'The Man That I Am.'
Follow up songs were 'Your Love and My Love Together' and the instrumental 'Swivel Your Hips'.
In 1973, Willie was approached to assemble a backing band for a session headlined by the Wild Magnolias. The resulting LP was 1973's 'The Wild Magnolias'.
In 1976, Willie Tee signed with United Artists to release his second LP, 'Anticipation'.
In the 1980's, he was rediscovered by the DJs on the Northern soul club scene, and in the mid-'90s began travelling, including an appearance at London's Jazz Café in Camden Town.
He was also courted by the hip-hop community, with the Gaturs' 'Concentrate' sampled by Sean 'Puffy' Combs and the Wild Magnolias' 'Smoke My Peace Pipe' sampled by the Geto Boys.
Willie Tee's classic Nola/Atlantic sides were finally combined in 2002 for the Night Train compilation 'Teasin' You'.
Willie Tee passed away in September 2007 from colon cancer.
I'm Only A Man (Capitol Records 1971)
Anticipation (United Artists Records 1976)
Turbinton Brothers (Rounder Records 1988)