Followers of Mississippi Heat have a pretty good idea what to expect when Pierre Lacocque's Chicago-based band comes out with a new album, but that doesn't mean that they know exactly what to expect. Although fans know that electric Chicago blues is going to be the main course, they also know that Lacocque might offer some tasty side dishes -- and on Let's Live It Up!, those side dishes range from gospel to jump blues. True to form, Lacocque (whose vocalists this time include Inetta Visor, John Primer, and Rhonda Preston) provides more electric Chicago blues than anything; in fact, the album gets off to a very Chicago-sounding start with Lacocque's "Wang Dang Doodle"-ish title song. "Wang Dang Doodle," of course, is a Willie Dixon standard that was made famous by Koko Taylor and Howlin' Wolf, and Lacocque's tune paints a similar picture of a wild, rowdy blues party in the Windy City (even though the melody is different and the tempo is faster). Plenty of equally Chicago-sounding material comes after that, but Lacocque throws listeners a curve ball on "Peace Train" (a lively gospel offering that shouldn't be confused with Cat Stevens' 1971 hit). "Daggers and Spears" employs both gospel imagery and blues imagery, and "Jumpin' in Chi-Town" is pure jump blues. Then there are the hints of jazz on "Until We Meet Again" and the tunes that are soul-influenced. So even though Let's Live It Up! has a Chicago blues orientation, it is also an album that benefits from Lacocque's awareness of gospel, soul, and jazz. Let's Live It Up! is faithful to Mississippi Heat's history, but the pleasant surprises that Lacocque offers here and there are a definite plus.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson