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One Eye Open: Live At Rosa's Lounge

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Album Review

The blues started out Southern, rural, and acoustic but ended up becoming Northern, urban, and electric — and things went full circle when bluesmen on the Southern chitlin' circuit became influenced by the music that was coming from John Lee Hooker in Detroit and Chess Records in Chicago. But Windy City residents haven't forgotten the blues' Southern heritage, which is why harmonica player Pierre Lacocque has been calling his Chicago-based blues/soul band Mississippi Heat. Don't let the name Mississippi Heat fool you; Lacocque's respect for Mississippi's contributions to the blues doesn't erase the fact that what transpires on this live CD is mostly electric Chicago blues (with some occasional detours into soul). Mississippi Heat has had its share of lineup changes since Lacocque formed the band in 1992; on One Eye Open (which was recorded at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago on July 18, 2005), the participants include, among others, guitarist/singer Lurrie Bell and singer Inetta Visor (a gutsy, big-voiced belter along the lines of Koko Taylor, Etta James, and Big Time Sarah). Lacocque, as usual, is on harmonica — and he has his share of inspired moments on the albums' vocal offerings as well as instrumentals that include the invigorating "Rosa's Strut" and the Eddie Harris standard "Listen Here" (which Lacocque takes out of soul-jazz and places firmly in the electric Chicago blues). Visor, meanwhile, makes the sparks fly whether she is performing straight-up blues or making some soul detours on Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady" and "Cool Twist" (a Lacocque original that might have been a hit if Mississippi Heat had been around in the mid-'60s). Although nothing groundbreaking occurs, One Eye Open: Live at Rosa's Lounge, Chicago is an enjoyable document of Lacocque's band on-stage during the summer of 2005.


Born: 13 December 1958 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Lurrie Bell was born on December 13, 1958, in Chicago. His famous father, harpist Carey Bell, had him working out on guitar as a wee lad. By 1977, he was recording with his dad and playing behind a variety of established stars, tabbed by many observers at the time as a sure star on the rise. But personal problems took their toll on his great potential; Bell's recorded output and live performances were inconsistent in the '80s and early '90s. Among the highlights of Bell's discography are three tracks...
Full Bio
One Eye Open: Live At Rosa's Lounge, Lurrie Bell
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