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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label James Cotton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Cotton. Show all posts

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Alligator Records artist: JAMES COTTON - COTTON MOUTH MAN - New release Review - Ellis James guest contributer



Blues harmonica legend, James Cotton releases his new CD “Cotton Mouth Man” which will be available at local and online record stores beginning May 07, 2013. May is also a time in which Cotton’s 77 year old face fills the cover of the current issue of Living Blues magazine. Writer and walking Blues almanac, David White provides a 10-page look at a career spanning nearly 60 years. This CD was premiered at a live performance, Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonerry, New Hampshire.

Cotton Mouth Man follows the trend of collaboration and featuring key players to round out the disk filled with 13 no-nonsense blues tunes. This by no means is a compromise but in this case is a certain gift to the listener. Guests as they appear in order are Joe Bonamassa, Gregg Allman, Keb’ Mo, Warren Haynes, Ruthie Foster, Delbert McClinton and vocalist Darrell Nulisch, long time veteran of Cotton's road band. The backbone of Cotton's band on this CD are the great Tom Hambridge on drums, Rob McNelley on guitar, Chuck Leavell  on keys, and Glenn Worf  on bass.The title track, Cotton Mouth Man,  features Joe Bonamassa on  guitar played with the fervor and sound of  Ten Years After at Woodstock. Next up is Midnight Train  featuring Gregg Allman. Subtle harmonica intro that kicks into a full band punch. A healthy and strong sounding Gregg Allman delivers the vocals and organ amongst great doses of Cotton’s distinctive harmonica and tasty guitar licks from beginning to end. Mississippi Mud featuring Keb Mo is next as acoustic juke joint piano lays down the solid foundation for Cotton’s harp, tasty electric guitar with Mo’s distinctive and cool vocals covering the top. This is one cut wherein there is an extra nice harmonica bridge solo that is quite cool. A none too subtle homage is given to Muddy Waters in both name dropping tip of the hat and song title inference. Something For Me wakes things up with the Warren Haynes' slip and slide which seems to fit hand and glove to the harmonica work. Touches of the ZZ Top like ‘buzzin’ and processed vocals add to an over all effect. Heartfelt female vocals from Rutie Foster gives a great change up in style in the Wrapped Around My Heart torch song.  A more complex harmonica arrangement meshes perfectly with the blistering guitar riffs and passionate lyrics.  
Saint on Sunday gives a two-for-one “Devil on Saturday and Saint on Sunday” view of two women rolled into one. This is a straight ahead driving song with prominent harp and bass line with the organ taking a more subtle back seat. Delbert McClinton lends his distinctive vocal delivery and guitar to a definite dance tune. Hard Sometimes reminds us the of difficulties of getting someone out of your mind with a funky double entendre to boot.  Drums and Bass are featured more than other cuts in the respect lent to Young Bold Women. Three words that work well together in describing what makes everything alright. Beginning with an almost a Calypso skip beat morphs into a straight up basic 4/4 blues beat only to bounce back and forth between the timing changes resulting in a song that would be easy to believe as a fun romp for the players to perform. Story telling is  key to the lucky find of a Bird Nest On the Ground. Once again a good Cotton bridge solo which stands out as my favorite example of James’ notable talent on this recording. I have to admit that Keb’ Mo is one of my favorites for vocal style and his ability to tell a story. Wasn’t My Time To Go draws in the listener with more round house piano and subtle harp with what sounds like a tasty arch-top
Blues is Good For You is a pleasant bass-driven walking blues with a simple story filled with references to Southern style and a strong platform for Cotton to blow his blues away. This is sure to bring a tap of the toe and a smile to your face. Bonnie Blue features Cotton on vocals and harmonica laid over a basic resonator guitar.  It’s great to hear Cottons voice both because of the texture that he gives to the song and as a testament to his right to call himself a bluesman. 


If you are a fan of harmonica blues then this is certainly a release that demands your spin time and attention. Less is more in this case. Production values are superior and a definite recommended collection!

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band! Here's James live in concert. Not a cut from his current release.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alligator Records News Briefs, April 16, 2013


 


MAJOR JAMES COTTON FEATURE IN LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE
NEW CD COTTON MOUTH MAN OUT ON MAY 7

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Blues harmonica legend James Cotton, whose new CD Cotton Mouth Man will be in stores on May 7, 2013, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Living Blues magazine. The 10-page cover story, written by blues scholar David Whiteis, takes an in-depth look at Cotton's entire career, including the new CD.

Cotton Mouth Man is a joyous celebration of Cotton's 69 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy-winning producer/ songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, Susan Tedeschi), the album is a trip through sounds and scenes from Cotton's long and storied career.

Cotton co-wrote seven of the tracks with Hambridge (who co-wrote five additional tracks). The songs were inspired by Cotton's colorful and sometimes perilous life and his memories of the Mississippi Delta, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Memphis, Sun Records, Chicago, and Muddy Waters. Throughout the CD, Cotton's blast-furnace harmonica sound and larger-than-life personality are front and center.

Helping Cotton tell his stories and showcase his music are guests Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Ruthie Foster, Warren Haynes, Delbert McClinton, and Keb Mo. Other vocals are handled by Darrell Nulisch, who has been singing in Cotton's road band for many years.

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The other members of Cotton's road band -- Jerry Porter, Noel Neal, and Tom Holland -- are also on board for some songs. Forming the core of the backing band on the CD are Hambridge (drums), Rob McNelley (guitar), Chuck Leavell (keyboards) and Glenn Worf (bass). Tommy MacDonald and Colin Linden each add guitar to one track. Cotton, who after a bout with throat cancer turned the vocal duties over to others, was inspired by the sessions to return to the microphone, singing his own Bonnie Blue (the name of the plantation where he was born), and making Cotton Mouth Man the most personal, celebratory and just plain fun recording of his seven-decade career.



ALLIGATOR ARTISTS APPEAR ON NATIONAL RADIO PROGRAMS

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Alligator Records recording artists Marcia Ball, Jesse Dee and Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials have all appeared or will appear on syndicated national radio broadcasts. Ball brought her raucous boogie-woogie blues to E-Town earlier this month (the segment can be heard in full by clicking on the link). Jesse Dee brings his original sweet soul music to World Cafe on April 17. And Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials return to Elwood's BluesMobile in a program featuring their roof raising slide guitar blues airing on June 9 and 10.


ANDERS OSBORNE RECEIVES BIG EASY AWARD FOR
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

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New Orleans' Gambit Weekly will honor guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Anders Osborne as the Entertainer Of The Year during its annual Big Easy Awards ceremony to be held on April 22 at Harrah's New Orleans. He is also nominated for two Big Easy Awards: Best Male Performer and Best Rock Band.

Osborne is currently in the studio working on a follow up to his massively successful 2012 Black Eye Galaxy CD. His most recent release is Three Free Amigos, a six-song EP recorded during a series of laid back, living room-like sessions.


EDDY "THE CHIEF" CLEARWATER FEATURED IN ILLINOIS TOURISM CAMPAIGN

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Blues master Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater is currently featured in a television commercial touting Illinois tourism. The video highlights Chicago's rich blues heritage and features Clearwater's inviting, trademark smile.

On Sunday, June 9, Clearwater will perform on The Chicago Blues Festival's main stage, joining James Cotton, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, John Primer, Billy Branch and others in an all-star revue -- billed as Chicago Blues: Old School, New Millennium -- that promises to be a highlight of this year's event.



ALLIGATOR RECORDS, EDDY "THE CHIEF" CLEARWATER AND CORKY SIEGEL INDUCTED INTO CHICAGO BLUES HALL OF FAME

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On Sunday, April 28, Alligator Records will be inducted into The Chicago Blues Hall Of Fame as a Legendary Blues Label. The ceremony will be held in Chicago at Buddy Guy's Legends and hosted by The Michael Packer Blues Band. The event will be filmed and televised by JBTV/NBC NONSTOP and broadcast on cable and satellite television nationwide. Alligator artists Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater and Corky Siegel will be inducted as Master Blues Artists.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alligator Records News Briefs March 25, 2013



WXRT'S BLUES BREAKERS TO PREMIERE TWO TRACKS FROM HARMONICA LEGEND JAMES COTTON'S COTTON MOUTH MAN

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On Monday, March 25, Tom Marker, host of Chicago radio station WXRT-FM's Blues Breakers program, will premiere two new songs from Grammy-winning harmonica giant James Cotton's upcoming CD, Cotton Mouth Man. The CD, to be released on Tuesday, May 7,  is a joyous celebration of Cotton's 69 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy-winning producer/ songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, Susan Tedeschi), the album is a trip through sounds and scenes from Cotton's long and storied career.
Cotton co-wrote seven of the tracks with Hambridge (who co-wrote five additional tracks). The songs were inspired by Cotton's colorful and sometimes perilous life and his memories of the Mississippi Delta, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Memphis, Sun Records, Chicago, and Muddy Waters. Throughout the CD Cotton's blast-furnace harmonica sound and larger-than-life personality are front and center.


Helping Cotton tell his stories and showcase his music are guests Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Ruthie Foster, Warren Haynes, Delbert McClinton, and Keb Mo. Other vocals are handled by Darrell Nulisch, who has been singing in Cotton's band for many years. Members of Cotton's road band -- Jerry Porter, Noel Neal, and Tom Holland -- are also on board for some songs. Forming the core of the backing band on the CD are Hambridge (drums), Rob McNelley (guitar), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), and Glenn Worf (bass). Tommy MacDonald and Colin Linden each add guitar to one track. Cotton, who after a bout with throat cancer turned the vocal duties over to others, was inspired by the sessions to return to the microphone, singing his own Bonnie Blue (the name of the plantation where he was born), and making Cotton Mouth Man the most personal, celebratory and just plain fun recording of his seven-decade career.


JESSE DEE'S NO MATTER WHERE I AM TO BE FEATURED ON FOX-TV'S BONES ON MONDAY, MARCH 25

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Boston soul singer/guitarist/songwriter Jesse Dee's original song No Matter Where I Am will be prominently featured on FOX Television's Bones, in an episode airing on Monday, March 25. The song appears on Dee's Alligator Records debut CD On My Mind / In My Heart, which was declared a "masterpiece" by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Since the February 26 release of the new CD, Dee has been featured in USA Today, The Boston Globe, No Depression, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Popmatters, and on WBUR-FM, WXPN-FM, NPR Music and many other outlets and publications. He recently performed, with his full band, on New York's WFUV. Watch the video here: http://wfuv.org/audio/archives/words-and-music-studio/jesse-dee-words-and-music-2013


LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS' KICK ME TO THE CURB TO BE FEATURED ON CBS-TV'S CRIMINAL MINDS

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CBS Television's Criminal Minds will feature Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials' Kick Me To The Curb during the episode set to air on Wednesday, March 27. The song, written by Lil' Ed Williams, leader of the Blues Music Award-winning Blues Imperials (now celebrating 26 years together), is from 2012's Jump Start.

Living Blues says Jump Start is "high-octane, expressive, fiercely articulated, harrowingly intense and raucous. Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials hit the floor running and accelerate from there."




ANDERS OSBORNE TO PERFORM WITH PHIL LESH AND LUTHER DICKINSON AT TERRAPIN CROSSROADS

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Guitarist/songwriter/singer Anders Osborne, whose new critically lauded EP Three Free Amigos has already become a fan favorite, will perform with Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) at the Spring Rambles at Terrapin Crossroads on April 11, 12 and 13, in San Rafael, California. The trio will join other guests including Graham Lesh and Tony Leone for three jam-packed nights of music.

OffBeat calls Osborne "an artist who continues to grow before our eyes," and says Three Free Amigos is a "beautiful songwriter's digest."

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This email was sent to info@bmansbluesreport.com by Alligator Records

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blues Giant James Cotton Releases New Album on May 7


HARMONICA GIANT JAMES COTTON TO RELEASE
COTTON MOUTH MAN ON MAY 7

GUESTS INCLUDE GREGG ALLMAN, JOE BONAMASSA, RUTHIE FOSTER, WARREN HAYNES, DELBERT McCLINTON AND KEB MO

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Rolling Stone says Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica legend James "Mr. Superharp" Cotton is "among the greats of all time....He blazes on harp with brilliant virtuosity." On May 7, 2013 Alligator Records will release Cotton Mouth Man, a joyous celebration of Cotton's 69 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy-winning producer/ songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, Susan Tedeschi), the album is a trip through sounds and scenes from Cotton's long and storied career.

Cotton co-wrote seven of the tracks with Hambridge (who co-wrote five additional tracks). The songs were inspired by Cotton's colorful and sometimes perilous life and his memories of the Mississippi Delta, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Memphis, Sun Records, Chicago, and Muddy Waters. Throughout the CD Cotton's blast-furnace harmonica sound and larger-than-life personality are front and center.

Helping Cotton tell his stories and showcase his music are guests Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Ruthie Foster, Warren Haynes, Delbert McClinton, and Keb Mo. Other vocals are handled by Darrell Nulisch, who has been singing in Cotton's band for many years. Members of Cotton's road band -- Jerry Porter, Noel Neal, and Tom Holland -- are also on board for some songs. Forming the core of the backing band on the CD are Hambridge (drums), Rob McNelley (guitar), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), and Glenn Worf (bass). Tommy MacDonald and Colin Linden each add guitar to one track. Cotton, who after a bout with throat cancer turned the vocal duties over to others, was inspired by the sessions to return to the microphone, singing his own Bonnie Blue (the name of the plantation where he was born), and making Cotton Mouth Man the most personal, celebratory and just plain fun recording of his seven-decade career.

According to Cotton, "I feel so happy about the music in this album. The blues is all about feeling -- if I don't feel it, I can't play it. My hope is that everyone who listens feels it. I know I sure did!" Cotton has recently been signed by the prestigious Rosebud Agency and will be touring the world in support of the album.

Cotton's history is now the stuff of legend. Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Mississippi on July 1, 1935, he learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) as a small child. He toured with Howlin' Wolf, recorded for Sun Records, and spent 12 years with Muddy Waters before stepping out on his own. Leading his own band, he rose to the very top of the blues and rock scenes, touring non-stop and earning his reputation as one of the most powerful live blues performers in the world, a man who could literally suck the reeds out of the harmonica from the pure force of his playing.

He first recorded under his own name for the Chicago/The Blues/Today! series on Vanguard, and along with Otis Spann, cut The Blues Never Die! for Prestige. He made his first solo albums -- three for Verve and one for Vanguard -- in the late 1960s, with bands featuring outstanding musicians, including famed guitarist Luther Tucker. With his gale-force sound and fearless boogie band (later featuring Matt "Guitar" Murphy), it wasn't long before he was adopted by the burgeoning hippie audience as one of their own. Cotton shared stages with Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Santana, Steve Miller, Freddie King and many others.

Cotton was universally renowned as one of the hardest-touring and most popular blues artists of the 1960s and 1970s. His acrobatic showmanship (he often did somersaults on stage) and full-throttle energy kept him in demand at concert halls all over the country. He played the Fillmore East in New York, the Fillmore West in San Francisco and every major rock and blues venue in between. During the 1970s, he cut three albums for Buddah and one for Capitol. He rejoined his old boss Muddy Waters for the series of Muddy albums produced by Johnny Winter, starting with Hard Again in 1977. Cotton also guested on recordings by Koko Taylor and many others. He was joined on his own albums by stars like Todd Rundgren, Steve Miller and Johnny Winter.

Cotton signed with Alligator Records in 1984, releasing High Compression and Live From Chicago: Mr. Superharp Himself!!! (which earned him the first of his four Grammy nominations). In 1990 he joined fellow Chicago harp masters for the all-star release Harp Attack!. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his Verve album, Deep In The Blues, was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006, and was honored by the Smithsonian Institution, which added one of his harmonicas to their permanent collection. During the 2000s Cotton has continued recording and touring relentlessly, playing clubs, concert halls and festivals all over the world, electrifying audiences wherever he performs. Cotton's 2009 return-to-Alligator release, Giant, was Grammy-nominated. USA Today said, "Since 1966 James Cotton has been carrying the Chicago sound to the world. On Giant, he pours 75 years of living into that harmonica and out comes devastating and powerful blasts of notes."

In June 2010, Cotton was honored at New York's Lincoln Center, where his friends Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland and others paid tribute to him in an all-star concert. There James Cotton played to yet another sold-out venue, with fans cheering the man known worldwide as "Mr. Superharp," an undisputed giant of the blues. He is currently touring as part of Blues At The Crossroads II, a tribute to Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, and he continues to tour nationally and internationally with his own band. In March 2013, he played three nights in Tokyo, Japan.

The New York Daily News calls Cotton "the greatest living blues harmonica player." The New York Times adds, "Cotton helped define modern blues harmonica with his moaning, wrenching phrases and his train-whistle wails."

Cotton Mouth Man proves James Cotton's high-compression blues harmonica playing is a true force of nature, while his songs and stories are a living history of the blues. As The San Francisco Examiner says, "James Cotton is an inimitable blues legend. His wailing harmonica blows them away. His improvisations on the blues are full of fun and good humor. The blues don't get much better."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Don't Start Me Talkin' - James Cotton & Mark Hummel

The past two decades have seen the emergence of young harmonica-led blues bands. In California, groups that draw their inspiration from the Chicago school but add elements of jump blues and rock 'n' roll into the mix have come up with an exciting new style of West Coast blues. In Oakland, the northern capital of California blues, resides the incredibly powerful harmonica player and vocalist Mark Hummel, leader of The Blues Survivors, who has been a major force in shaping and defining this musical genre. Mark Hummel is a road warrior - a true Blues Survivor. Along the way, he has crafted his own trademark harmonica sound - a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack combined with a strong sense of swing. While Mark is new to Electro Fi Records, his earlier albums, constant touring and appearances at the major blues festivals have firmly established his solid reputation around the US and Europe. Born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Los Angeles, California, Mark absorbed the music of such Chicago based harp blowers as Little Walter, James Cotton, and Sonny Boy Williamson, before settling in Berkeley, California in 1972. There he played with local bluesmen such as Cool Papa, Boogie Jake, Mississippi Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane. In 1980, he took the helm to lead the popular Blues Survivors Band. In 1985, the Blues Survivors released Playing in Your Town, on Rockinitus Records, and immediately went out on the road. Earning their name, they toured virtually non-stop throughout the United States, Canada and Europe often playing alongside such blues greats as Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee, Lowell Fulson and Eddie Taylor. While on tour with his band in 1988, Mark was introduced to Canadian guitarist and vocalist Sue Foley. After several tours that year, Mark and Sue released Up & Jumpin', which also features piano legend Charles Brown. Eager to revive the Blues Survivors, though, Mark hit the road again in 1990, before releasing Hard Lovin' in 1992 on Double Trouble Records. He has been on the road constantly since then, stopping only to record Feel Like Rockin' in 1994 and Married to the Blues in 1995 on Flying Fish Records. He has performed at numerous festivals across the country, including the San Francisco Blues Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and has performed and judged at the Hohner Harmonica World Championship, held in Germany. For Heart of Chicago, Mark's sixth release and first on Tone-Cool, Mark traveled to the Windy City to record with some of the city's most legendary players and pay tribute to his Chicago blues influences. Featuring former Muddy Waters sidemen Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bob Stroger on drums and bass, guitarist Dave Myers from Little Walter's band, and others. In 1998 Mark released Lowdown To Uptown,his 7th cd, a mix of Chicago blues & uptown jazz. This cd featues great guests such as Jr. Watson, Mike Welch, Brenda Boykin & the last piano recording of the late, great Charles Brown. Mark's most current CD is called "Ain't Easy No More" on the Electro Fi label. A mixture of Hummel's originals and some choice rearrangements of previously recorded blues. It's receiving extended radio play at the moment. Since 1991 Mark has been both producing & performing at his Blues Harmonica Blowout™ series. These shows have grown to be a much heralded event & continue to draw sellout crowds wherever they appear. The list of participents is a Who's Who of Blues harp history: John Mayall, John Hammond, Norton Buffalo, Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Huey Lewis, Curtis Salgado, Kim Wilson, Watermelon Slim, Sugar Ray Norcia, Kenny Neal, James Harman, Fingers Taylor, Snooky Pryor, Dave Earl, Rod Piazza, Magic Dick, William Clarke, Rick Estrin, Paul DeLay, Billy Branch, Lazy Lester, Carey Bell, Little Sonny, Paul Osher, Lee Oskar, Cephas and Wiggins, Gary Primich, Paul Rischell and Annie Raines, Carlos Del Junco, Sam Myers and many more! If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rocket 88 - James Cotton


James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi, United States) is an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, who has performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time as well as with his own band.
Cotton became interested in music when he first heard Sonny Boy Williamson II on the radio. He left home with his uncle and moved to West Helena, Arkansas, finding Williamson there. For many years Cotton claimed that he told Williamson that he was an orphan, and that Williamson took him in and raised him; a story he admitted in recent years is not true. Williamson did however mentor Cotton during his early years. When Williamson left the south to live with his estranged wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he left his band in Cotton's hands. Cotton was quoted as saying, "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."
Cotton performing in 2008

Although he played drums early in his career, Cotton is famous for his work on the harmonica.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Little Red Rooster - Keith Richards and James Cotton

Video of Keith and James Cotton performing "Little Red Rooster" during rehearsals for the Hubert Sumlin Benefit concert.


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Friday, February 10, 2012

BLUES HARMONICA ICON JAMES COTTON TO JOIN ERIC CLAPTON, KEITH RICHARDS AND OTHERS IN A TRIBUTE TO HUBERT SUMLIN AT NEW YORK'S APOLLO THEATER

BLUES HARMONICA ICON JAMES COTTON TO JOIN ERIC CLAPTON, KEITH RICHARDS AND OTHERS IN A TRIBUTE TO HUBERT SUMLIN AT NEW YORK'S APOLLO THEATER

Blues harmonica master James Cotton will join Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and many other musicians live at New York's famed Apollo Theater to pay tribute to the late guitarist Hubert Sumlin. The event will take place on Friday, February 24 and is a benefit for the Jazz Foundation Of America.

Other artists scheduled to appear are Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark, Jr., Billy Flynn, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, David Johansen, Steve Jordan, Danny Kortchmar, Dr. John, Keb Mo, Todd Mohr, Ivan Neville, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Larry Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmy Vivino, Willie Weeks, Jody Williams, Kim Wilson and special surprise guests.

Cotton's latest CD is the Grammy Award-nominated Giant.



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Walking By Myself - Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton and Luther Tucker


Luther Tucker (January 20, 1936 — June 18, 1993) was an American blues guitarist.

While soft spoken and shy, Tucker made his presence known through his unique and clearly recognizable guitar style. Tucker helped to define the music known as Chicago Blues, but played everything from blues to soul, rock, jazz and gospel, when given the chance. While never achieving the fame and notoriety of some of his contemporaries he was considered a great guitarist whether playing his own lead style or playing on the recordings of B. B. King, Mel Brown, Pat Hare, or Elmore James. He is considered one of the most prominent rhythm guitarists of Chicago Blues along with Eddie Taylor, Jody Williams and Freddie Robinson.
In 1952 he began playing with his uncle, J.T. "Boogie" Brown, saxophonist, studio musician, and sideman to slide guitarist, Elmore James. Tucker was soon back with Mr. Robert Jr. Lockwood, who was one of the most sought after sidemen and studio guitarists on the Chicago blues scene. Robert Jr. went to the musician's union asking that Tucker be allowed to play in clubs, and reassured the Union that he would act as a guardian to him and keep the 16-year old Tucker out of trouble. Robert Jr., who was capable of playing Delta Blues had been B.B. King's rhythm guitarist in 1948-1949 and brought a unique jazz style to (the new style known as) Chicago Blues. A tough task master, Robert Jr. drilled in to Tucker everything from minor diminished ninth and thirteenth chords to big bar-chords and the subtle nuances of jazz guitar. Initially, Robert Jr. played lead guitar and Tucker played bass on a tuned-down six-string guitar (the Fender bass had not yet been invented) or Tucker would play rhythm guitar. Tucker learned to read music and began working as a studio guitarist at an early age. If someone wanted Robert Jr., they also got Tucker as part of the package. They worked with Little Walter off and on for seven years. First, as part of a twosome with Robert Jr., and later as a lead guitarist, Tucker recorded on numerous classic sides behind [(Little Walter)], Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters, and [(Howlin' Wolf)]. He also recorded with Otis Rush, Snooky Pryor, and after moving to the West Coast, John Lee Hooker, Robben Ford, and Elvin Bishop.

In the late 1960s Tucker had been working in Muddy Waters' band along with harmonica player, James Cotton, and drummer, Francis Clay. In 1968, a cooperative band was put together composed of Tucker on guitar; drummer, Sam Lay (best known for his work with Paul Butterfield); bassist and alumni of Howlin' Wolf's band, Bobby Anderson; Alberto Gianquinto, a pianist equally comfortable playing jazz, blues or classical music; and harmonica man and singer, James Cotton. First night out, the emcee at the club asked the band's name so he could announce them. For lack of a name, one of the band said, The James Cotton Blues Band. The name stuck. After a while, Sam Lay was replaced by Francis Clay. Clay, a veteran of Dizzy Gillespie's and Cab Calloway's big bands, Jay McShann's group and Muddy Water's band, brought a new dimension to the band and Tucker further developed his skills, playing soul tunes and jazz arrangements, utilizing the octave, minor and diminished chords he had learned from Robert Jr. The group traveled the country from Fillmore West, in San Francisco to Fillmore East in New York, and on to Great Britain, Europe and other points, sharing the stage with the biggest rock acts of the 1960s and 70's. The band spent a great deal of time in Northern California and in 1973 Tucker left The James Cotton Blues Band and relocated to the town of San Anselmo, California.

For several years he worked with John Lee Hooker's band, Grayson Street, L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson, and as a house musician at Clifford Antone's club in Austin, Texas. He finally formed the Luther Tucker Band where he also became known as a very competent and soulful singer. He played in clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area until his death. Tucker played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1973, 1976, and 1979. He would also play as part of supporting bands behind visiting friends and bluesmen including Fenton Robinson, Freddie King and Jimmy Reed.

Luther Tucker died of a heart attack in June, 1993 in Greenbrae, California, at the age of 57. His body was returned to Chicago, where he is buried in Restvale Cemetery in an unmarked plot. He recorded two albums, one incomplete, both released following his death
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walking By Myself - Jimmy Rogers - James Cotton



Jimmy Rogers (June 3, 1924 – December 19, 1997) was a blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, best known for his work as a member of Muddy Waters' band of the 1950s

James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi) is an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter who has performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time as well as with his own band.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Chicage Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues) New Release Review


This is a very enjoyable double cd release of classic blues tunes played by the likes of Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Carlos Johnson and Lurrie Bell with special guests Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Magic Slim and featuring Ronnie Baker Brooks, Zora Young and Mike Avery. They cover all of the bases from Chuck Berry to Lonnie Johnson. This is a cd that should be in everyones collection.
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Check it out you'll like it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

James Cotton Blues Band


James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi), is an American blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter who is the bandleader for the James Cotton Blues Band. He also writes songs alone, and his solo career continues to this day. His work includes the following genres: blues, delta blues, harmonica blues, and electric harmonica blues.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rocket 88 - James Cotton


James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi), is an American blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter who is the bandleader for the James Cotton Blues Band. He also writes songs alone, and his solo career continues to this day. His work includes the following genres: blues, delta blues, harmonica blues, and electric harmonica blues.Cotton became interested in music when he first heard Sonny Boy Williamson II on the radio. He left home with his uncle and moved to West Helena, Arkansas finding Williamson there. For many years Cotton claimed that he told Williamson that he was an orphan, and that Williamson took him in and raised him; a story he admitted in recent years is not true. Williamson did however mentor Cotton during his early years. When Williamson left the south to live with his estranged wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he left his band in Cotton's hands. Cotton was quoted as saying, "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."
Cotton performing in 2008

Although he played drums early in his career, Cotton is famous for his work on the harmonica.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Creeper - James Cotton


James Cotton (born July 1, 1935, Tunica, Mississippi), is an American blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter who is the bandleader for the James Cotton Blues Band. He also writes songs alone, and his solo career continues to this day. His work includes the following genres: blues, delta blues, harmonica blues, and electric harmonica blues. Cotton became interested in music when he first heard Sonny Boy Williamson II on the radio. He left home with his uncle and moved to West Helena, Arkansas finding Williamson there. For many years Cotton claimed that he told Williamson that he was an orphan, and that Williamson took him in and raised him; a story he admitted in recent years is not true. Williamson did however mentor Cotton during his early years. When Williamson left the south to live with his estranged wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he left his band in Cotton's hands. Cotton was quoted as saying, "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."
Cotton performing in 2008

Although he played drums early in his career, Cotton is famous for his work on the harmonica.

Cotton began his professional career playing the blues harp in Howling Wolf's band in the early 1950s. He made his first recordings as a solo artist for the Sun Records label in Memphis, Tennessee in 1953. Cotton began to work with the Muddy Waters Band around 1955. He performed songs such as "Got My Mojo Working" and "She's Nineteen Years Old", although he did not appear on the original recordings; long-time Muddy Waters harmonica player Little Walter was utilized on most of Muddy's recording sessions in the 1950s. Cotton's first recording session with Waters took place in June 1957, and he would alternate with Little Walter on Muddy's recording sessions until the end of the decade, and thereafter until he left to form his own band. In 1965 he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet, utilizing Otis Spann on piano to record between gigs with Waters' band. Their performances were captured by producer Samuel Charters on volume two of the Vanguard recording Chicago/The Blues/Today!. After leaving Muddy's band in 1966, Cotton toured with Janis Joplin while pursuing a solo career. He formed the James Cotton Blues Band in 1967. They mainly performed their own arrangements of popular blues and R&B material from the 1950s and 1960s. Two albums were recorded live in Montreal that year.
James Cotton at Jeff Healey's blues nightclub in Toronto

In the 1960s, Cotton formed a blues band in the tradition of Bobby "Blue" Bland. Four tracks that featured the big band horn sound and traditional songs were captured on the album Two Sides of the Blue.

In the 1970s, Cotton recorded several albums with Buddah Records. Cotton played harmonica on Muddy Water's Grammy Award winning 1977 album Hard Again, produced by Johnny Winter. The James Cotton Blues Band received a Grammy nomination in 1984 for Live From Chicago: Mr. Superharp Himself!, and a second for his 1987 release, Take Me Back. He finally was awarded a Grammy for Deep in the Blues in 1996 for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Cotton appeared on the cover of Living Blues magazine in 1987 in the July/August issue (#76). He was featured in the same publication's 40th anniversary issue, released in 2010 in August/September.

Cotton battled throat cancer in the mid-1990s, and his last recorded vocal performance was on 2000's Fire Down Under the Hill, but he continued to tour, utilizing singers or his backing band members as vocalists. Cotton's latest studio album, Giant, is scheduled for release on Alligator Records in late September 2010.

On March 10, 2008, Cotton and Ben Harper inducted Little Walter into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They performed "Juke" and "My Babe" together at the induction ceremony, which was broadcast nationwide on VH1 Classic. On August 30, 2010, Cotton was the special guest on Larry Monroe's farewell broadcast of Blue Monday, which he hosted on KUT in Austin, Texas for nearly 30 years.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Can't Loose What Your Never Had


Always dignified... Mud is the king of the Chicago blues!!

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913[1] – April 30, 1983), known as Muddy Waters , was an American blues musician, generally considered the Father of modern Chicago blues. Blues musicians Big Bill Morganfield and Larry "Mud Morganfield" Williams are his sons. A major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s, Muddy was ranked #11 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can't Lose What You Never Had


Muddy Waters is one of my all time favorites..and most every great player in his day played in his band. he would just drop into a club for an hour or so and the musicians would cluster to back him. Here is one of his routine bands featuring James Cotton.
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