Mississippi Heat review…September 28, 2014…

MISSISSIPPI HEAT

WARNING SHOT

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 839

SWEET POISON–ALLEY CAT BOOGIE–COME TO MAMA–I DON’T KNOW–YEAH NOW BABY–BIRTHDAY SONG–NOWHERE TO GO—WARNING SHOT–SWINGY DINGY BABY–TOO SAD TO WIPE MY TEARS–RECESSION BLUES–EVAPORATED BLUES–YOUR CHEATIN HEART–A PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL–WHAT CHA SAY–WORKING MAN

For their latest album, Mississippi Heat made a few changes over the course of the set.  Rest assured, these changes are all for the better, and gives this band more of an ensenble or old-school revue feel.  The album is entitled “Warning Shot,” and features sixteen songs, with fourteen of them new originals.

Pierre LaCocque remains the leader, with his harp playing, which was inspired after seeing  Big Walter when he was younger, carrying the day.  Inetta Visor’s big voice shines throughout, but some of the backing players are different.  Guitar duties are shared by Giles Corey and Carl Weathersby, (Carl on two cuts) while Michael Dotson adds guitar throughout, and takes lead vocals on three cuts.  The mighty Sax Gordon adds an extra dimension to the band’s overall sound, either playing or arranging horns on eight cuts.  The incredible professionalism of Pierre and Gordon is such that the melding of the harp and horns is seamless, and fits the band’s overall sound very well.

You can’t resist the swing of the opening cut, with Inetta calling out a no-good womanizer, comparing his love to “Sweet Poison.”  “Alley Cat Boogie” rocks with a steady roll, and Pierre and Sax work together perfectly here.  “I Don’t Know” finds Inetta on the fence about giving away her heart to a mysterious lover in this minor-key, jazz-tinged cut.

Michael Dotson takes vocals on three traditional-sounding cuts—the driving, freight-train choogle of “Yeah Now Baby,” and the rockabilly hi-test of “Swingy Dingy Baby,” with Pierre blowin’ the reeds out of his harp on these.  Michael’s other lead vocal is a foreboding, throbbing deep-Delta blues entitled “Evaporation Blues,’ and has a good ole Muddy vibe running thru it.

Pierre is not afraid to experiment with different sounds and rhythm patterns, either, as is evidenced by the Latin feel of “Come To Mama” and “Recession Blues,” while the fellows work out over a funky groove behind Inetta’s vocal on “A Part Of Something Special.”

We had two favorites.  The title cut again finds Inetta with “angry thoughts in my head” over a cheatin’ lover. who’s gonna get “one Warning Shot before I come for you!”  And, Pierre’s harp is mighty sweet and mellow blowing in tandem with the horns on one of the swinginest versions of Hank Sr.’s “Your Cheatin Heart” that you’re likely to hear!

Pierre LaCocque and Mississippi Heat have taken thee big-band concept and turned it into a full-fledged family of musicians all with the same mission–to bring us the best in blues!  “Warning Shot” definitely has award potential, and here’s wishing them all good luck along the blues highway!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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