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Mississippi Heat: Let's Live it Up!

John Barron By

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Formed in 1991, Mississippi Heat has become one of the more popular modern blues bands out of Chicago. Led by harmonica great Pierre Lacocque, this high-energy ensemble has released nine recordings with a rotating cast of top-notch talent. On Let's Live it Up!, the group delivers a rocking set with the help of earthy vocalist Inetta Visor and guitar greats John Primer and Carl Weathersby.

The bulk of the disc's material is written by Lacocque and covers all the essential blues grooves, from straight-forward shuffle ("Steadfast, Loyal, and True," "Daggers & Spears") and up-tempo jump ("Jumpin' in Chi-Town," "Betty Sue"), to minor-key rockers ("She Died From a Broken Heart," "Been Good To You"). An inspired cover of Sugar Pie DeSanto's "I Want to Know," featuring Weathersby's Albert King-inspired plucking, settles into a relaxed blues mambo supported by Kenny Smith's soulful drumming and bassist Stephen Howard.

Guitarist Primer, whose impressive resume includes stints with Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, plays and sings with a swinging intensity on three tracks, including his own "I Got Some News Today." As exceptional as Primer and Weathersby are, the bulk of the guitar soloing on the disc comes courtesy of Giles Corey, whose style is unique and somewhat more edgy.

Chris "Hambone" Cameron provides solid support on organ and piano, occasionally stepping into the spotlight, as on the opening title track, playing clever unison lines with Lacocque. With the addition of a strong four-piece horn section on a handful of tracks, Let's Live it Up! turns out to be nothing short of a raucous, well-conceived good time.

Track Listing: Let's Live it Up; Steadfast, Loyal, and True; Jumpin' in Chi-Town; She Died From a Broken Heart; Betty Sue; Another Sleepless Night; Peace Train; Been Good To You; I Want to Know; Enlighten Me; Daggers & Spears; Don't Cry For Me; I Got Some News Today; Until We Meet Again.

Personnel: Pierre Lacocque: harmonica; Inetta Visor: vocals; Rhonda Preston: vocals; John Primer: guitar, vocals; Carl Weathersby: guitar; Giles Corey: guitar; Chris "Hambone" Cameron: organ, piano, clavinet; Stephen Howard: bass; Kenny Smith: drums; Andrew "Blaze" Thomas: drums; Ruben Alvarez: percussion; Kay Reed: background vocals; Mae Koen: background vocals; Vanessa Holmes: background vocals; Kenny Anderson: trumpet; Hank Ford: tenor saxophone; Bill McFarland; Sam Burkhardt: alto saxophone.

Title: Let's Live it Up! | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Delmark Records

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