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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Mississippi Heat

 

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believed, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, that he should learn about Judaism and the suffering of the Jewish people. Lacocque and his siblings remain the school's only non-Jewish graduates to this day. Lacocque learned to play folk tunes on a harmonica but had no idea that the blues existed.

In 1969 the family came to Chicago, and Lacocque heard Big Walter Horton perform at the University of Chicago. "From one moment to the next I was a new man," he told WBEZ radio host Niles Frantz. Practicing the harmonica "six, seven, eight hours a day," he also began to write original blues numbers. He went to McGill University in Montreal, played in bands there, and hit bottom after a promoter absconded with a $1,000 prize he had won. Returning to Chicago, he studied psychology and philosophy, married, and got a Ph.D.: "For fourteen years, my excitement was to read, study, write, and publish." After another crisis point, "I finally found my calling. Ever since I got back as a full-time musician, everything has fallen into place for me."

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