James Cotton

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James Cotton
James Cotton 2007
Background information
Born (1935-07-01)July 1, 1935
Tunica, Mississippi, United States
Died March 16, 2017(2017-03-16) (aged 81)
Austin, Texas, United States
Genres Blues, Chicago blues, Delta blues, Electric blues,[1] Jazz, Memphis blues, Rock[2]
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals, harmonica, drums
Years active 1953–2017
Labels Buddah Records
Alligator Records
Telarc International
Associated acts Muddy Waters
Howlin' Wolf
Matt Murphy
Pat Hare
Website Official website

James "Jimmy" Cotton (July 1, 1935 – March 16, 2017), was an American blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter. He was an orphan.

Career[change | change source]

Cotton first became interested in playing music when he heard Sonny Boy Williamson on the radio. He left his home to find Sonny Boy Williamson, and when he found him (in West Helena, Arkansas), Williamson took him in and raised him. Blues singer Bobby Bland was his half-brother.[3]

First band[change | change source]

Cotton first began playing the blues harp in Williamson's band, called Howlin Wolf's. After one gig, Sonny Boy quit the band to live with his wife in Milwaukee. He left the band in Cotton's hands. Cotton said, ""He just gave it to me. But I couldn't hold it together 'cause I was too young and crazy in those days an' everybody in the band was grown men, so much older than me."

Later career[change | change source]

Cotton started working with the Muddy Waters Band in 1955. He performed songs like "I Got My Mojo Working" and "She's Nineteen Years Old". After leaving Muddy's band in 1966, Cotton toured with Janis Joplin. Alone, Cotton wrote classic songs like "Cotton Crop Blues", "Rocket 88" and "Hold Me In Your Arms". He formed the James Cotton Blues Band in 1967. They performed all of Cotton's classics and more.

Death[change | change source]

Cotton died at a medical center in Austin, Texas from pneumonia on March 16, 2017 at the age of 81.[4]

Awards[change | change source]

Cotton played harmonica on Muddy Water's Grammy Award winning 1977 album Hard Again. James Cotton's band would also get nominated for two Grammy Awards. The first one was for his 1984 release, Live From Chicago: Mr. Superharp Himself!. His second for Take Me Back.

Performances[change | change source]

Cotton played with the following people:

Albums[change | change source]

  • Chicago/The Blues/Today! vol. 2
  • Take Me Back
  • 3 Harp Boogie
  • Live from Chicago Mr. Superharp Himself
  • High Compression
  • 100% Cotton
  • Live & On the Move
  • Cut You Loose!
  • Mighty Long Time
  • Fire Down Under the Hill
  • Baby, Don't You Tear My Cloths
  • Deep in the Blues
  • Living the Blues
  • 35th Anniversary Jam

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]