BluesWax Rating: 9 out of 10
Twentieth Anniversary Celebration
The blues band Mississippi Heat is now celebrating their twentieth anniversary. This is their fourth Delmark release.
Pierre Lacocque is the talented harp player and songwriter who heads up this Chicago-based ensemble. Lead singer Inetta Visor is the passionate voice on most tracks. Rounding out the band is guitarist Giles Corey, or Billy Satterfield. Keyboard chores are handled by either Chris Cameron or Johnny Iguana. The rhythm section is Joseph Veloz on bass and Kenny Smith on drums.
The album opens with Visor taking the lead on “Granny Mae,” the first of eleven new songs written by Lacocque. Visor is also superb on the classic “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and on her own composition “The Blues Matrix.” She handles all the vocals except when guest vocalist and returning member Dietra Farr takes charge. Farr sings on “Look-A-Here, Baby,” “What’s Happening To Me,” and on “Sweet Ol’ Blues.”
Lacocque’s harp playing shines throughout the recording. Cameron’s piano is highlighted on “My Mother’s Plea” and again on “Padlock Blues,” while Iguana sits in on “Lemon Twist.” Guest guitarists include Carl Weathersby on “Mr. Mistreater” and Billy Flynn on “Trouble in His Trail.” Accordionist Chubby Carrier guests on “New Orleans Man.”
The amount of talent in this ensemble is huge and therefore the personnel changes difficult to document. Any recording by Mississippi Heat is an important one. Their favorite of mine however remains 2010’s Let’s Live It Up, also on Delmark.
Congratulations are in order as few bands have earned a reputation as fine as Mississippi Heat, and kept it for twenty years.
Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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