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Review excerpts by "Hwy 61" MPB radio host SCOTT BARRETTA for Clarion-Ledger:

Natchez is one of Mississippi’s cultural treasures, but its rich blues heritage is often overlooked. Evidence of it is plentiful on the recent CD “Natchez Burnin'” (Broke and Hungry Records) by veterans Hezekiah Early and Robert Lee “Lil' Poochie” Watson.

Now 82, Early usually performs from behind his drum set, playing a harmonica that’s taped to a microphone stand. That’s his setup on 10 of the 12 tracks here, but he also performs solo on a homemade acoustic guitar on “Baby, Please Don’t Go” and “Somebody Changed the Lock,” resulting in some of the most traditional blues sounds heard today.

Watson, 65, has more of an R&B orientation and lends his high but gritty vocals to songs by B.B. King, Chuck Willis and Fats Domino — but he also contributes several originals, including the opening “I Got My Eyes on You.”

“I loved the CD,” says Watson. “I had never just sat back and heard myself like that, but I liked what I heard and my wife, she loves it — she makes me keep one in the car 24/7.

Lil Poochie & Hezekiah "Natchez..." CD

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