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Mississippi Heat

Let's Live It Up!

(Delmark; US: 20 Apr 2010; UK: 15 Apr 2010)

Note-perfect, butt-shaking blues

For close to 20 years, Mississippi Heat has been tearing it up at blues clubs and regularly releasing albums. Let’s Live it Up! is their ninth recording, a remarkable achievement considering that this isn’t so much a band as a loose-knit collective led by songwriter and harp player Pierre Lacocque. Other members include big-voiced singer Inetta Visor, who hollers gloriously on ten of these 13 songs, as well as former Muddy Waters guitarist John Primer, guitarist Carl Weathersby, keyboardist Chris Cameron and a slew of horn players, backup singers and a rock solid rhythm section.


Yeah yeah, fine—but how are the tunes? In short, they rock, right from the opening burst of the title track, through the chugging “Steadfast, Loyal and True” and into the sweet groove of “Been Good to You.” Slower songs such as “She Died From a Broken Heart” and “Daggers and Spears” mine the depths as only the blues can, thanks to Lacocque’s keening harmonica and powerful vocal performances by Visor and, on the latter tune, Rhonda Preston.


Mississippi Heat is not out to rewrite the blues songbook. The aim instead is to present note-perfect, booty-shaking performances. That is exactly what Let’s Live it Up! does. The tunes are skewed toward the boogie-woogie, let-the-good-times-roll end of the spectrum, with dollops of something deeper and darker. Roll down the windows, hit the gas, and let yourself enjoy this one.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Related Articles
15 Jun 2008
A triumphant fusion of urban blues, Southern soul and Latin and African rhythms makes this the most exciting blues album of the year so far.
5 Feb 2006
Blues and Rhythm is alive and well, and anything B.B. King could do on guitar Pierre Lacocque can do on blues harmonica. A great night out you can have at home.
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