Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let’s Live It Up! reviewed by Steve Jones

Let’s Live It Up!
Mississippi Heat
Delmark Records
14 tracks

It’s been 19 years since Pierre Lacocque founded Mississippi Heat. He assembled a group of Chicago’s veteran blues artists to create and play new music in the style of the 1950’s Chicago blues heyday. Nine CD’s later and with a few personnel changes here and there, they are still going strong.

In addition to Lacocque, we have Inetta Visor on vocals, John Primer on guitar for three tracks and a couple of vocals to boot, Carl Weathersby on guitar for nine tracks, Giles Corey on rhythm guitar and the remaining solos, Christopher “Hambone” Cameron on keys, Stephen Howard on bass and Kenny Smith and Andrew “Blaze” Thomas share the drums. A host of others fill in here and there, including the superb Chicago Horns.

There is only one cover here– Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “I Want to Know”. Visor turns in some great vocals here (and throughout the disc), Weathersby wails on his guitar and Lacocque’s harp work is gritty and focused. The other 13 tracks are all originals that hearken back to the style of Chicago blues of years past.

Primer penned “I Got Some News Today” and does the vocal and lead guitar. Here and on his other tracks he displays the gutsy persona that he’s had since playing as Muddy’s last guitar player.

Visor and Cameron wrote “She Died from A Broken Heart”, a thoughtful down-tempo ballad. Visor’s poignant vocals and Lacocque’s harp blend well and the trade off on lead is beautifully done. Weathersby adds a nice understated solo here, too.

Pierre Lacocque authored the rest of the songs. He’s done a superb job here. From jumping and lively opening and closing tracks “Let’s Live It Up!” to “Until we Meet Again (Au Revoir et A Bientot)” we get to hear great vocals, harp and Weathersby and a little of Primer doing what they do best. I can’t pick a favorite here because they are all pretty damn good! Slow blues, swing, and shuffles all sound sweet when these guys play together. This is a sweet CD and it comes highly recommended for fans of real, traditional Chicago blues at their best!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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