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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Mississippi Heat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mississippi Heat. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Van Der Linden Recordings artist: Mississippi Heat - Madeleine - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Madeleine, from Mississippi Heat and it a packed solid with blues and blues drenched music. Opening with driving blues rocker, Silent Too Long, Brian Quinn on bass and Terrence Williams set the pace, with Giles Corey laying down some hot guitar riffs and great lead vocals by Carl Weathersby, B3 by Chris Cameron and excellent harmonica riffs by Pierre Lacocque. Solid opener. On Chicago style blues, Uninvited Guest, guitar master Lurrie Bell has the mic and lead guitar duties. With Kenny Smith on drums, this track sets up nicely to showcase Lacocque's harmonica mastery. Daneshia Hamilton really takes charge with excellent vocals on Ridin' On A Hit with backing vocals by Nanette Frank, Diane Madison and Mae Koen. With a super bass line by Quinn and strong harmonica work by Lacocque, this is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Michael Dotson gets the spotlight on Everybody Do Something with excellent vocals and strong slide guitar. An extended harmonica solo on this track by Lacocque really adds a super edge. Very cool. Title track, Madeleine, is an excellent instrumental, lead by the melodic improvisation of Lacocque on harmonica. Bell adds a really nice lead guitar solo of his own over the backing of Quinn, Cameron on piano and Kenny Smith on drums. Excellent! Wrapping the release is shuffle, Trouble with the rich vocal lead of Inetta Visor. A great walking bass line by Quinn, fluid harmonica work by Lacocque, Cameron on B3 and strong backing vocal by Frank, Madison and Koen makes this an excellent closer for a strong release. 


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Monday, December 26, 2016

Delmark Records artist: Mississippi Heat - Cab Driving Man - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Cab Driving Man, from Mississippi Heat and it's a cornucopia of blues. Opening with R&B track, Cupid Bound, Pierre Lacocque is on the harp with sweet tone. Inetta Visor has the lead vocals. Chris "Hambone" Cameron sets up the keys backed by Brian Quinn on bass, Kenny Smith on drums with excellent guitar riffs by Michael Dotson and Sax Gordon on sax. Nice opener. Title track, Cab Driving Man, has great pace with Terrence Williams on drums and sweltering bari sax by Gordon. Visor's vocals are solid and Ruben Alvarez's percussion is tight. Boogie track, That Late Night Stuff features Dotson on lead vocal and his lead guitar work really hits the spot. On delta style blues, Flowers On My Tombstone, Visor lays in some of the best vocals on the release, backed by Sumito Aruyo on piano, Lacocque on harp and Dotson on guitar. Very nice. Icy Blue has a real nice funky bottom to it thanks to Quinn and Williams. Giles Corey lays down some real nice slide work on this track and Lacocque ices the track with always cool harp riffs. Cool boogie guitar riffs by Dotson open The Last Go Round and he stays at the mic on lead vocal. Punched along by Lacocque, this track has a Chicago twist. Bass driven, Rosalie, has a Latin flavor with Visor back on the mic and excellent percussion work by Alvarez. With slick guitar soloing by Corey, nice electric keys by Cameron, a hot bass solo by Quinn and an extended harp solo by Lacocque, this is a stand out track. Slinky, blues rocker, Luck Of The Draw is one of my favorites on the release with a great complex bass line and flaming guitar riffs by Dave Specter. Lacocque sits down nicely on the track delivering really smooth phrasing. Mama Kalia is a real nice blues ballad featuring Visor's vocals and really sweet guitar lead soloing by Dotson. With a light jazz edge, this track is smooth as silk. Smooth Operator has R&B roots but a New Orleans flavor with Gordon anchoring on bari, Alvarez adding vital percussion and Vison's vocals leading the way. Lacocque's harp solo is melodic and Gordon rips a real nice sax solo. Excellent! With a Morganfield feel, Can't Get Me No Traction, Dotson takes the lead on vocal and guitar. Lacocque rides the top on harp and Williams' drumming is tight. With the bluesiest instrumental work on the release, Lacocque sets up his harp for the run and Dotson cleans the plate. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Hey Pipo!, a real cool boogie track. Featuring nice lead lines by Lacocque and Cameron this is a real nice closer for a real cool release.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Delmark Records artist: Mississippi Heat - Warning Shot - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Warning Shot, from Mississippi Heat and it's real nice! Opening with Sweet Poison, an Elmore James like track, featuring Inetta Visor on vocal and Giles Corey on super slide. Pierre Lacocque lays in some smoking harp work backed by Neal O'Hara on piano, Brian Quinn on bass and Kenny Smith on drums. Alley Cat Boogie is a fast paced boogie with a driving piano line from O'Hara and Andrew Thomas on drums. Visor really rolls with the vocals on this track backed by Mae Koen, Diane Madison and Nanette Frank on backing vocals. Lacocque rips a super harp solo on this track and Sax Gordon blows a fine solo of his own! Come To Mama has a definite New Orleans flavor with added percussion from Ruben Alvarez. O'Hara puts a real authentic spin on the piano work and Gordon adds some really cool sax work to compliment Lacocque's excellent harp phrasing. I Don't Know is a club style ballad and Visor really digs into her vocal style. Lacocque shows his impeccable harp style on his solo work on this track and Corey also lays out some really nice guitar soloing on this track. Yeah Now Baby really gets into gear with an uptempo blues track. Michael Dotson takes the lead on vocal and Lacocque really shines on this track. Andrew Thomas sets the pace on drums with a tight snare ride throughout. Funky track Birthday Song gets back to that New Orleans sound with a good amount of bounce. Visor, Koen, Madison and Frank played against the horns and keys make for a nice contrast and Carl Weathersby rips it loose on guitar as well. Alvarez, Gordon and Quinn each take nice solos as well for a really cool jam. Nowhere To Go has a cool lope for a more traditional Chicago sound. Lacocque takes advantage of the pace and lays down another super harp solo. Title track Warning Shot has a cool swing and O'Hara takes a nice organ solo followed by Corey and Gordon who both lay it out! Swingy Dingy Baby is a super shuffle featuring Dotson on vocal. A slick guitar solo heats up this track and Lacocque and O'Hara squeeze it for what it's worth. Too Sad To Wipe My Tears has a early delta feel with simple guitar riffs and expressive harp soloing. Visor's rich vocals are well suited to this style as well. Recession Blues returns to the Latin flavor with distinctive percussion from Alvarez. An easy blues rock overtone gives Corey a opening to play some really stylized guitar riffs followed by Lacocque. Excellent! Evaporated Blues has an unusual approach to the blues with a staggered military kind of drum work and a swampy feel. This is a cool track featuring Dotson on lead vocal and cool key work from O'Hara throughout. Hank Williams classic, Your Cheating Heart, gets a swing makeover with Lacocque taking the melody on harp. Gordon takes a really throaty sax solo on this track as well giving it extra body. A Part Of Something Special has a really funky groove and Visor puts forward my favorite vocals on the release. Gordon gets into a really grinding groove followed by a crisp solo by Lacocque making this one of my favorite tracks on the release. What Cha Say? is a really nice slow blues instrumental lead by Lacocque over a strong bass line from Quinn. Kenny Smith takes the lead on vocal on this track and Corey adds some nice slide guitar work as well. Wrapping the release is Working Man, a quick paced Chicago style blues with Visor back on lead vocal. With O'Hara setting the pace and Lacocque playing to the lead, Corey and Lacocque each take turns with cool solos. O'Hara and Smith warm the track making this is a nice conclusion to a really cool release.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mississippi Heat

On the back of Mississippi Heat's CD Footprints On The Ceiling, there is a photograph of a man with his eyes closed, playing the harmonica with such passion, that one is almost stunned by the actual silence of that frozen moment. Yet when he is heard live or on record on his harmonica, the listener is caught up by its fervent, inspiring presence. The man behind the harmonica is Pierre Lacocque, Mississippi Heat's band leader and song writer. Pierre was born on October 13, 1952 in Israel of Christian-Belgian parenthood. However, shortly after his birth, Pierre's family moved to Germany and France before going back to Belgium in 1957. By the age of 6, Pierre had already lived in three countries. A preview to his future musical career on the road. Pierre's childhood in Brussels resonated with the intense and impassioned Scriptural upbringing of his father, a Protestant minister, now living in Chicago, who became a worldfamous Old Testament scholar. Pierre, his brother Michel (Mississippi Heat's General Manager) and his sister Elisabeth (who did the artwork design on the Heat's first three CD's) went to a Jewish Orthodox School in Brussels. After the Holocaust, Pierre's parents and paternal grandfather (also a minister) felt that their children and grandchildren should learn about the suffering and plight of the Jews, as well as about Judaism in general and its philosophical and theological depths. At the Athenee Maimonides (Brussels) they were the only non-Jews ever (and since) to attend. At the Athenee Maimonides they learned old and modern Hebrew, all the religious rites and prayers, as well as studied the rabbinical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament. With the devotion to his studies, there was little time or room for much else. The family culture and priority was on intellectual pursuits, not on play such as soccer or music (two old interests of his). Serious studying, the reading of existential philosophers and theologians, were the only worthwhile activities condoned and encouraged by Pierre's parents, his father in particular. But thanks to the radio in young Pierre's room, there was just enough opportunity to unravel the subtle auditory endowments of Destiny. From the radio he heard and was moved by such soulful singers as Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin. Pierre was careful to keep the volume down. This is where he began to appreciate African- American music. ... The sound of the harmonica was first introduced to him when he lived in Alsace, France. His father was then a minister in a small village called Neuviller (1955-1957), not far from Albert Schweitzer's birthplace in Gunsbach. Pierre's father had bought him a green plastic harmonica toy. He was about three years old at the time. He remembers blowing in and out of it and feeling a surge of sadness that felt so familiar. As he experimented with the toy he often cried listening to its plaintive sounds. It was not until he came to Chicago in 1969, however, that he finally detected his destiny: playing the blues on the harmonica. He had never heard the blues saxophone-like amplified harmonica sound until then. In 1969 Pierre's father received a full-time Old Testament professorship at the Chicago Theological Seminary, located on the University of Chicago's campus. The family decided to move permanently to the Windy City and leave Belgium for good. Pierre was sixteen years old. The golden era of the 1950's electric Chicago sound was still having a vibrant impact on local bands. Luminaries such as Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Little Walter, Junior Wells, Elmore James, James Cotton, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Reed, and so many others, were still dynamic forces to reckon with in the late 1960's. Unfortunately some had died by the time Pierre arrived in Chicago. Little Walter, Pierre's mentor and main influence, died in 1968 following a head wound he acquired during a fight. ... Otis Spann, Muddy Waters' long-time band member and perhaps the best blues piano player ever, had also recently died of cancer. On a Saturday night in the early Fall of 1969, Pierre decided to go to a concert being held at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes. He had no exposure to Chicago Blues before then, and had no expectations as to what he was about to hear. As he listened to the band playing, he became overwhelmed with emotion and excitement at a sound he never heard before: A saxophone-sounding amplified harmonica! In his own words, " I was absolutely stunned and in awe by the sounds I heard coming from that harmonica player and his amplifier ... It sounded like a horn, yet distinct and unique". The harmonica player went by the name of Big Walter Horton, a name he had never heard before but who changed his life forever. What he heard that night, the music, the mood, the style and sounds, moved his soul. From that moment on, Blues music, and blues harmonica in particular, became an obsession. Two days later, on a Monday morning, Pierre bought himself his first harmonica (or "harp" as it is called in blues circles). Next he was buying records, instruction books, anything to do with the blues harp. He was talking to people, picking up new knowledge wherever he could. Obsession led to passion and intense dedication, and Pierre was practicing the harp six, seven hours a day, notpaying attention to the clock (although he is known to check the clock now to remind him when he needs to get off the stage, because if it was up to him he would keep on playing beyond the scheduled sets! His band members tease him about that). Pierre eventually finished High School (like Paul Butterfield, Pierre graduated from the University of Chicago's High School, better known as "The Lab School". The two never met, however, as Butterfield had left the school before 1969). Pierre then left Chicago to go to College in Montreal, Canada. He played harp through his College years, making a few dollars here and there. While at Stanislas College and later, at McGill University, both located in Montreal, Pierre got his first live experience with a local blues group named the ALBERT FAILEY BLUES BAND. About a year later, Pierre joined another band: OVEN. That was in the early 1970's when he lived for six years in that French-Canadian city (1970-1976). OVEN gigged regularly, and eventually won the Montreal Battle of The Bands contest in the summer of 1976. Unfortunately, the promoter who promised the winner $1,000 Canadian dollars and a record contract skipped town, and was never seen or heard from again. The news of the winand of the shady promoter did make the Montreal newspapers though... Not having the ill-fated Canadian blues career anymore, Pierre, 24 at the time, and disillusioned, came back to Chicago. Although playing the blues on the harp could never be more fitting as it was at this point, it couldn't pay the bills. And it was at this point (1976) that Pierre described his life as going "the intellectual route". Pierre decided to further his education in Clinical Psychology. It was during this period that Pierre met his Social Worker wife Vickie, and began working as a clinician at a Mental Health center in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. For the next decade, Pierre was involved with his psychological work and research, finishing a doctorate at Northwestern University and publishing professional articles and a book, until a major insight took place in 1988. Pierre, an accomplished 36 years-old man, who had been studying Existentialism, Theology, History of Religions, etc. began to feel a void in his life. He began to re-evaluate his life and look into his own heart. Eventually he heard the answer loud and clear: He missed playing the blues. The awareness struck him like a beautiful horn, coming from an amp, distinct and unique, and yet a sound he had heard before, hidden all these years, but definitely not lost. And this is where Pierre's passion revived, his fire and "joie de vivre" rekindled, his ability to take what was lost inside of him all these years and turn it into the raw, powerful heat that it is today. If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delmark Records artists: Mississippi Heat - Delta Bound - New Release review

I just received the new recording, Delta Bound by Pierre Lacocque's Mississippi Heat. The Heat is packing some big time talent with Lacocque on Harp, Inetta Visor on vocal, Kenny Smith on drums, Billy Flynn on guitar, Chubby Carrier on accordion, Dietra Farr on vocals and Carl Weathersby guitar. The recording opens with Granny Mae, a stylized Chicago blues runner with Visor taking the lead and PL playing up a storm. Look - A - Here, Baby remains cradled in the arms of Chicago. Flynn plays a crisp guitar solo on this track of course in compliment to the solid vocals of Dietra Farr and smokin harp work of Lacocque. New Orleans Man takes a real look south as is indicated by the title with Carrier adding toe zydeco feel on the drumming of Smith. My Mother's Plea slows it down a little bit giving Visor a chance to dig in a little and opening the door for Flynn to play some cool riffs on guitar and for Cameron to show his stuff on keys. One particular treat on the recording is a new twist on Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood which takes a swinging blues approach to an old standard and gives Flynn the opportunity to play some blistering riffs along with Visor's slick vocal styling and nice harp work from Lacocque. Padlock Blues has the smokey sound of a early city blues. Cameron's piano work on this track is particularly cool as is the harp work of Lacocque. What's Happening To Me? has that Chicago sound loud and clear with a cool instrumentals by Cameron and Flynn and of course a nice harp riff by PL. The Blues Matrix has a bit more of a R&B style and is really solid. Giles Corey takes a funky guitar solo on this track in compliment to PL's harp work on this track. Trouble In His Tail again slows it down a bit showcasing PL's harp work really nicely. Mr. Mistreater takes a smoother club style trip into the blues, Visor trading vocal riffs with Flynn who takes a rippin solo on this track. Lemon Twist is a slick instrumental with guitar, harp and Hammond solo's. Very nice. Sweet Ol' Blues gets back on the straight Chicago trail and PL is digging in on harp behind the vocal lead of Farr. Easy To Please gets the R&B groove going again with each band member taking a shot to close out the recording. If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Remember Too - Mississippi Heat


Pierre Lacocque: Bandleader
Pierre was born on October 13, 1952 in Israel of Christian-Belgian parenthood. However, shortly after his birth, Pierre's family moved to Germany and France before going back to Belgium in 1957. On a Saturday night in the early Fall of 1969, Pierre decided to go to a concert being held at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes. He had no exposure to Chicago Blues before then, and had no expectations as to what he was about to hear. As he listened to the band playing, he became overwhelmed with emotion and excitement at a sound he never heard before: A saxophone-sounding amplified harmonica! In his own words, " I was absolutely stunned and in awe by the sounds I heard coming from that harmonica player and his amplifier ... It sounded like a horn, yet distinct and unique". The harmonica player went by the name of Big Walter Horton, a name he had never heard before but who changed his life forever. What he heard that night, the music, the mood, the style and sounds, moved his soul.

From that moment on, Blues music, and blues harmonica in particular, became an obsession. Two days later, on a Monday morning, Pierre bought himself his first harmonica (or "harp" as it is called in blues circles). Next he was buying records, instruction books, anything to do with the blues harp. He was talking to people, picking up new knowledge wherever he could. Obsession led to passion and intense dedication, and Pierre was practicing the harp six, seven hours a day, notpaying attention to the clock (although he is known to check the clock now to remind him when he needs to get off the stage, because if it was up to him he would keep on playing beyond the scheduled sets! His band members tease him about that).

Pierre eventually finished High School (like Paul Butterfield, Pierre graduated from the University of Chicago's High School, better known as "The Lab School". The two never met, however, as Butterfield had left the school before 1969). Pierre then left Chicago to go to College in Montreal, Canada. He played harp through his College years, making a few dollars here and there. While at Stanislas College and later, at McGill University, both located in Montreal, Pierre got his first live experience with a local blues group named the ALBERT FAILEY BLUES BAND. About a year later, Pierre joined another band: OVEN. That was in the early 1970's when he lived for six years in that French-Canadian city (1970-1976). OVEN gigged regularly, and eventually won the Montreal Battle of The Bands contest in the summer of 1976. Unfortunately, the promoter who promised the winner $1,000 Canadian dollars and a record contract skipped town, and was never seen or heard from again. The news of the winand of the shady promoter did make the Montreal newspapers though...

Not having the ill-fated Canadian blues career anymore, Pierre, 24 at the time, and disillusioned, came back to Chicago. Although playing the blues on the harp could never be more fitting as it was at this point, it couldn't pay the bills. And it was at this point (1976) that Pierre described his life as going "the intellectual route". Pierre decided to further his education in Clinical Psychology. It was during this period that Pierre met his Social Worker wife Vickie, and began working as a clinician at a Mental Health center in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. For the next decade, Pierre was involved with his psychological work and research, finishing a doctorate at Northwestern University and publishing professional articles and a book, until a major insight took place in 1988. Pierre, an accomplished 36 years-old man, who had been studying Existentialism, Theology, History of Religions, etc. began to feel a void in his life. He began to re-evaluate his life and look into his own heart. Eventually he heard the answer loud and clear: He missed playing the blues. The awareness struck him like a beautiful horn, coming from an amp, distinct and unique, and yet a sound he had heard before, hidden all these years, but definitely not lost.

And this is where Pierre's passion revived, his fire and "joie de vivre" rekindled, his ability to take what was lost inside of him all these years and turn it into the raw, powerful heat that it is today.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

JUKIN' - Mississippi Heat


The group was formed in 1991 in Chicago, Illinois, and was strongly influenced by early electric blues of the 1950s. They played locally in Chicago clubs, and went through several member changes in the 1990s, all the while recording eight albums and a DVD.