Walter "Simtec" Simmons and Wylie Dixon, an explosive Sam & Dave-ish act, had a few soul hits in the late '60s and early '70s as Simtec & Wylie. Though exciting live, the duo never hit the charts as big as Gene Chandler's other duo discovery, Mel & Tim ("Backfield in Motion"), but it wasn't because of lack of effort.
Simtec was born in Chicago (born December 23, 1944) but moved to Orrville, AL, when he was six (he attended Rocky Branch Elementary and Keith High), but returned to the South side of Chicago at 14 and completed his schooling at Bowen High. He also studied accounting and income tax law at Loop Junior College. A South side Chicago group, the Vermaharms, was Simtec's springboard into music. Besides him, the members were James Bingham, Mathews Whitfield, and Mel Tucker. After the group disbanded, guitarist Simtec , and his brother, bassist Ronald, who plays bass, caught the ears of Chicago DJ Herb "Kool Gent" Kent, who asked the siblings to put some music to a rhythm emanating from the rhythm machine Kent was playing at a record shop. The result was "T-Box," a local hit that prompted Simtec to whip up a band and name it after the record: Simtec Simmons & the T-Boxes.
The T-Boxes became the backing band for Simtec & Wylie, who cut their first record "Socking Soul Power" (shades of James Brown) under that name in 1969 on Toddlin' Town Records. Two releases for Shama Records in 1970, "Do It Like Mama" and "Gimme Some of What You Got," followed.
Wylie Dixon was a gospel-based singer who worked with Sonny Thompson at King Records with the Big Wheels, a secular group consisting of himself, James Carr, Bobby Pointer, and Robert Goley. Dixon has sadly passed and little is known about his upbringing. He often collaborated with the Simmons brothers on songs.
Simtec & Wylie enjoyed their most popular recordings in 1971 on Mr. Chand: "Gotta Get Over the Hump" and "Bootleggin'." Those songs prompted the release of their only album, Gotta Get Over the Hump, which saw daylight on Mr. Chand. "Cross That Bridge" b/w "What's Good to You" (1973) doesn't appear on the album, nor do a couple of B-sides. They recut "Gimme Some of What You Got" b/w "Put an Extra Plus in Your Love," and Atlantic Records released it as a 12".
Simtec produced other acts during this period, including the girl group Krystal Generation, who toured with the Simtec & Wylie Revue. He also contributed, along with Dixon and Ronald Simmons, to Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler's One and One album. An accomplished songwriter, Simtec has 50 titles cleared with B.M.I.
In 1975, Simtec went solo with "Classified Crazy Man"/"Some Other Time" on Innovation 2. In 1977, he cut a self-titled album on AVI Records that's hard to find. Simtec later became involved in real estate and ran Supreme Realty in Chicago. ~ Andrew Hamilton