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Who Sleepy Willis (Taso Galios)
When May 3, 2019
Where West Warwick, RI
What Obituary: Sleepy Willis
 

Lantana, FL - Taso A. Golios, formerly of Newport, RI, died Friday, May 3, 2019 at the JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, FL. He was 87. Born in Newport, the son of the late Angelo and Evangelina (Mastoras) Golios, he was the beloved husband of the late Annette (LaPlante) Golios. He served in the US Army during the Korean War.

He was the father of Valerie DuPont, Kassie Rhoades, Carla Wheeler and of the late Angelo and Jeffrey Golios. Step-father of Karen Hays, Ron Marrocco, Ken Marrocco, Tracy Piacente and Dena Marrocco. He is also survived by two grandchildren: Timothy Wheeler and Travis Angelo DuPont; two great grandchildren: Bailey DuPont and Peyton DuPont and four step-grandchildren.

Performing under the stage name “Sleepy Willis” this country musician’s career began in Maine in 1955 working on television with Ernie and Candy Lindell and the Rhythm Rancho Show. After working with Hal Lone Pine and Betty Cody he joined the Wagon Masters, a band whose genre was known as truck driving music. It was during this time his association with Dick Curless, one of the funniest country singers from New England, began.

When the Wagon Masters broke up, Willis formed a new trio with Curless and Harold Carter. Writing and performing country and western songs about 18-wheelers and a CB radio, they moved on to the Silver Dollar in Bangor where they began a long stretch of performances. As the fad of truck driving country/CB radio drew a larger audience, Willis and Curless cut some sides for Event Records. Their first big break came when some of their songs were picked up and marketed by Capitol. The record The Soul of Dick Curless was a good example of their music at that time. The presence of Sonny Breau on this album, a 14-year old who played lead guitar for Curless and Willis, proved to be history in the making as the jazz guitarist/country picker would go on to become known to fans as Lenny Breau.

After the Curless band broke up, Willis drifted into rock & roll and traveled all over the country with many different bands. In 1961, he cut a reasonably successful record called "The Peppermint Twist." In 1965, he returned to Bangor and bought the Silver Dollar. After selling the club in 1968 he reconnected with Dick Curless playing lead guitar. Serving also as manager and agent for Curless the two friends formed a booking agency which they successfully operated until 1973 when Willis moved to Connecticut.

In 1980, Willis returned home to Newport where he took up playing the fiddle. His regular performances twice earned him selection as Rhode Island Country Music Association Fiddler of the Year which would later earn him induction into the Organization's Hall of Fame. In 1985 he was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame.

A funeral service will be held at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home & Crematory, 659 East Greenwich Avenue, West Warwick, RI on Monday, May 13 at 11:00 AM. Calling hours will be at the funeral home on Monday immediately prior to the service from 10:00 - 11:00 AM. Burial with military honors will be in Island Cemetery, Newport, RI. Condolences may also be offered and remembrances shared online at www.carpenterjenks.com.

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Contact
Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home and Crematory


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