[1 September 2010]
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.