DELMARK NOTES: Let’s Live it Up is Mississippi Heat's third recording for Delmark, and 9th overall since this unique band formed in 1991. This diverse, but cohesive ensemble recorded 13 new original songs, eleven by leader and tasteful, creative harmonica player Pierre Lacocque, and a right on cover of Sugar Pie DeSanto’s catchy Veltone/Chess classic “I Want to Know!” They are fortunate to have not only one, but two of the blues world’s premier guitarists/singers adding their immense talent– John Primer and Carl Weathersby!!
Muddy Waters’ last guitarist, John “The Real Deal” Primer sings and plays on 3 cuts, including his original, “I Got Some News Today.” Another legendary Chicago area blues guitarist and part time member, Carl Weathersby and his powerful Albert King influenced guitar blasts can be heard throughout. Sensational vocalist Inetta Visor returns as lead singer on 10 tunes, including her deep, intense original, “She Died From A Broken Heart.” Newest Heat member, fantastic singer Rhonda Preston (Black Ensemble Theater) also contributes greatly to Pierre’s original, “Daggers & Spears” where she talks about “the Devil having a field day” with her! Keyboard whiz Chris “Hambone” Cameron (check out his website for his incredible resume’!), veteran blues trumpeter Kenny Anderson and the Chicago Horns, and percussionist Ruben Alvarez all add much texture to the Heat. Special mention must go out to killer lead/rhythm guitarist Giles Corey (Lubriphonic) and the rhythm section of bassist Stephen Howard (Bo Ramsey, William Elliot Whitmore) and Blues Music Award winner Kenny Smith on drums for their essential contributions.
From the earliest days of Mississippi Heat it was Pierre Lacocque's intention to assemble a group of the best Chicago blues veterans around to play original music in the tradition of the great Chicago blues bands of the 1950s. Mississippi Heat has gone through a lot of changes, but certain elements of the band's winning formula have remained constant: Pierre has remained the driving force behind the band. One of today's tastiest Chicago blues harp players, Pierre has a knack for soulful melodies, tone, and phrasing! His harmonica playing is rooted in tradition but is always fresh and void of cliche's.
LINER NOTES BY PETER MADCAT RUTH: Pierre Lacocque was born in Israel and lived in Germany, France and Belgium, before moving to Chicago as a teenager in 1969. That same year Pierre’s life was changed forever when he heard harmonica player Big Walter Horton play amplified blues harmonica in Chicago. In Pierre’s words: “The music shook me, shook me. There was an older man playing the harmonica the way I had never heard before. The sounds that came out of that instrument sent shivers all through me. I was awe-struck!!!”
Fast forward 22 years to 1991... After playing in various bands, Pierre forms his own band: Mississippi Heat.
Fast forward another 19 years to today... It’s 2010 and Mississippi Heat is now renown world-wide as one of Chicago’s premier blues bands. What a journey... What a band!
From the earliest days of Mississippi Heat it was Pierre’s intention to assemble a group of the best Chicago blues veterans around to play original music in the tradition of the great Chicago blues bands of the 1950s. With Pierre at the helm, Mississippi Heat has gone through a lot of changes, but certain elements of the band’s winning formula have remained constant:
#1. Pierre has remained the driving force behind the band. He is one of today’s tastiest Chicago blues harp players. What a knack for soulful melodies, tone, and phrasing! His harmonica playing is rooted in tradition but is always fresh and void of clichés.
#2. Since the early days, Mississippi Heat has always featured a strong female vocalist. For the past ten years that position has been held by the incredible vocalist, Inetta Visor.
#3. Mississippi Heat prides itself in presenting original material, most of which is written by Pierre himself.
#4. Mississippi Heat has always been a collective of top-notch blues musicians with every member of the band allowed to shine.
#5. Mississippi Heat has traditionally invited guest artists to join them for recording projects. On this CD the special guests include Carl Weathersby, John Primer, Chris “Hambone” Cameron, Andrew “Blaze” Thomas, Ruben Alvarez, Rhonda Preston and The Chicago Horns.
About the musicians on this recording:
Drummer Kenny Smith is the son of Willie “Big Eyes” Smith who played numerous years in the Muddy Waters Band. So Kenny’s entire life has been steeped in the Chicago blues tradition. Kenny has been with Mississippi Heat since 1997.
Stephen Howard worked and recorded with the band from 1998 to 2003, and then again from 2007 to the present. The Stephen- Kenny combination creates an absolutely unbeatable in-the-pocket rhythm section.
Carl Weathersby was Albert King's rhythm guitarist between 1979 and 1982, and then played guitar with Billy Branch's Sons of Blues for 15 years before going out on his own. He has worked on and off with MH since 1998.
Guitarist Giles Corey’s “Rock of Gibraltar” rhythm playing combined with his stunning lead playing make him a great addition to this band.
John Primer toured with Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim & The Teardrops before starting his own band in 1995.
Chris “Hambone” Cameron is one of Chicago's premier session keyboard players. During the past 3 decades he has performed with John Mayall, Harvey Mandel & Sugarcane Harris, Etta James, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows, and Chevere just to name a few.
Andrew “Blaze” Thomas has been touring with the Bernard Allison Group for the last five years. Blaze has also performed with Buddy Guy, Jimmy Johnson, Melvin Taylor, Ana Popovic, and Lucky Peterson.
Ruben Alvarez is a master drummer and percussionist. His performance credits include movie soundtracks, jingles, recording sessions and live appearances with a variety of artists including Eddie Palmieri, Chucho Valdez, Anita Baker, The Commodores, Junior Wells, and John Mayall.
Rhonda Preston fills in for Inetta as the Mississippi Heat vocalist from time to time.
The Chicago Horns: Kenny Anderson is one of Chicago’s finest trumpet players, and arranged the beautiful horn scores for this album.
Finally Kay Reed did the splendid vocal arrangements.
About the songs on this CD:
LET’S LIVE IT UP!
The title track for the CD is this relentless one chord boogie. Sort of like John Lee Hooker on steroids and caffeine. Inetta’s vocals shine. Both Pierre and Giles Corey have a chance to cut loose on this one. Irresistible and awesome!
STEADFAST, LOYAL AND TRUE
John Primer takes over as vocalist and guitar player for this strong, medium tempo blues shuffle.
SHE DIED FROM A BROKEN HEART
Inetta sings her heart out on this minor key blues ballad. Check out the electric piano, the spooky harmonica part, Carl’s especially soulful guitar solo, and the moving background vocalists.
John Primer sings this one. The Muddy Waters - Little Walter - Jimmy Rogers feel is strong here. And then Giles Corey’s guitar solo takes it up a notch, followed by kicking solos by Pierre and Hambone, ending with a first position harp solo like no other!
ANOTHER SLEEPLESS NIGHT
Pierre plays some especially dark and moody chromatic harp on this one. What a tone! The horns also make this song sound huge. Carl’s solo lifts the song even higher.
Mississippi Heat takes you here to church. It sounds like a big church meeting on Chicago’s South Side. The piano, plus the Hammond organ, plus that glorious choir gives this track the traditional gospel sound. Inetta channels Mahalia Jackson on this one, and the harp makes it unique.
BEEN GOOD TO YOU
Carl Weathersby plays stunningly on this funky blues. The song showcases Blaze‘s drumming. Check Pierre’s masterful chromatic exit solo!
JUMPIN’ IN CHI-TOWN
“Jump to the beat!” The harmonica and the horns work together so well on this track, and what a hot harp solo! This number will surely get everybody up and dancing.
I WANT TO KNOW
On this cover song, made famous by Sugar Pie DeSanto, Mississippi Heat transports us all down to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Inetta sounds as good as ever. The rhythm section, with extra help from percussionist Ruben Alvarez, grooves deeply on that second line feel. Hambone plays the Hammond organ exquisitely, the horn section is tight, and Pierre’s harp solo proves again that his harp style is uniquely his own.
A Chicago style harp-led fast shuffle... What an amazing cymbal work! You can tell that Kenny was born to play this stuff. On this one Hambone gets to let his piano chops shine.
DAGGERS & SPEARS
Rhonda Preston takes over on vocals and does a superb job. The horn section is featured prominently, and John Primer gets a chance to play some delightful down home blues guitar.
DON’T CRY FOR ME
The Chicago horns are featured on this hard driving blues. This one is a great showcase for Inetta Visor.
I GOT SOME NEWS TODAY
On this in-the-pocket, straight ahead Chicago Blues shuffle, John Primer shows us what he does best.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Ending the CD as Mississippi Heat would end a live performance, everyone goes home dancing and feeling great!
THIS ALBUM IS YET ANOTHER WINNER FOR MISSISSIPPI HEAT. WELL DONE!
– PETER MADCAT RUTH
Musician - Grammy Award Winner