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Hattiesburg Blues

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Album Review

Considering that harmonica player Pierre Lacocque specializes in electric Chicago blues, wouldn't it have made more sense for him to call his band Chicago Heat instead of Mississippi Heat? Well, Chicago Heat would have been an appropriate name for Lacocque's outfit, but given Mississippi's impact on the Chicago blues, there is no reason why Chicago-based blues artists shouldn't give a shout out to that southern state. After all, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Magic Sam, Otis Spann, Magic Slim, and Jimmy Reed were among the many Mississippi natives who made their mark in the Windy City — which is where Mississippi Heat recorded Hattiesburg Blues in 2007. The fact that this 63-minute CD contains a song called "Hattiesburg Blues" (as in Hattiesburg, MS) as well as a song titled "Chicago Is My Home" (which features Lurrie Bell on vocals and guitar) says a lot about the Chicago/Mississippi connection, but no one will mistake anything on the disc for acoustic Mississippi country-blues; Hattiesburg Blues is decidedly urban and decidedly electric, and one person who does a lot to help Lacocque give this release much of its big city appeal is Inetta Visor. Lacocque features the big-voiced singer prominently; she is a major asset on the feel-good opener "Tiger Man" but is equally successful on moody, dusky minor-key offerings such as "How Much Worse Can It Be?," "Light from Within" and "Forgot You Had a Home." A minor-key approach has a way of adding considerable moodiness to a blues performance, and it often works well for Lacocque and his allies on Hattiesburg Blues — which is yet another demonstration of their ability to provide solid albums that emphasize electric Chicago blues and occasionally detour into old-school soul.


Formed: 1992 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A contemporary blues combo resurrecting the vintage Chicago sound of the 1950s, Mississippi Heat was formed in the Windy City in 1992 by vocalist/drummer Robert Covington, harpist Pierre Lacocque, guitarists Billy Flynn and James Wheeler, and bassist Bob Stroger. While remaining a fixture of the local club circuit, the band's lineup remained in flux in the years to follow; Covington exited in 1993, and was replaced by vocalist Deitra Farr and drummer Allen Kirk in time to record their debut LP Straight...
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Hattiesburg Blues, Mississippi Heat
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