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James Cotton 35th Anniversary Jam

35th Anniversary Jam
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  • CD83550
  • 0.1
Around 1966, Cotton left the Muddy Waters Band to form his own unit. This '35th anniversary' is... more

James Cotton: 35th Anniversary Jam

Around 1966, Cotton left the Muddy Waters Band to form his own unit. This '35th anniversary' is the idea behind this album, which doens't due Cotton justice. I would have loved to hear more heavy-weight contemporaries. This is just another session. Mediocre. JAMES COTTON - voc, MIKE WILLIAMS - gtr, DAVID MAXWELL - pno, NOEL NEAL - bass, PER HANSON - drums. Special guests: KENNY NEAL - gtr, KOKO TAYLOR - voc, LUCKY PETERSON - gtr/voc, DEREK O'BRIEN - gtr, BOBBY RUSH - voc, SHEMEKIA COPELAND - voc, SYL JOHNSON - voc, JIMMIE VAUGHAN - gtr, G.E. SMITH(!) - gtr, KIM WILSON - voc/hca, MARIA MULDAUR - voc, RONNIE HAWKINS - voc.

Article properties: James Cotton: 35th Anniversary Jam

  • Interpret: James Cotton

  • Album titlle: 35th Anniversary Jam

  • Label TELARC

  • Genre Blues

  • Artikelart CD

  • EAN: 0089408355028

  • weight in Kg 0.1
Cotton, James - 35th Anniversary Jam CD 1
01 Don't Me Talking
02 The Creeper
03 I've Got A Feeling
04 Cotton Crop Blues
05 Fatuation
06 How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong?
07 Rocket 88
08 Blues In My Sleep
09 River's Invitation
10 All Walks Of Life
11 Hold Me Baby
12 Blues For The Hook
The James Cotton Band For much of the ‘70s, harp blaster James Cotton fronted one of the... more
"James Cotton"

The James Cotton Band

For much of the ‘70s, harp blaster James Cotton fronted one of the highest-energy blues bands in the business

A product of Tunica, Mississippi, born on July 1, 1935, Cotton's harp mentor from age nine was Sonny Boy Williamson. "I heard Sonny Boy one day over station KFFA in Arkansas. He was singing songs and blowing harmonica. And I liked it. So I told my uncle about it," says Cotton. "I guess six or seven months later he took me to see him." Williamson's tough love tutelage was invaluable. "I stayed with Sonny Boy six years.  The only thing Sonny Boy did was just kind of guide me along. He never picked up a harp and said, 'Play this,' or 'Play that.' I just kind of watched him do it, and I was around him all the time.

15-year-old James inherited Sonny Boy's band after Williamson's wife split. "She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we was in West Memphis, Arkansas," says Cotton. "So I guess after she was there six or seven months, Sonny Boy couldn't take it no more. He just walked in one night and gave me the band, and cut out the next morning. The band didn't stay together long. I was a kid."

Howlin' Wolf hired the youth to play on a ‘52 date at Sam Phillips' Memphis studio. Phillips signed James to a Sun Records contract the next year. "I used to be on the radio, station KWEM, West Memphis, Arkansas, from 3:00 ‘til 3:15," he says. "I guess Phillips heard the show, and he called me over and asked me if I wanted to do some recording." Pat Hare's raging guitar sliced through Cotton's '54 Sun encore, Cotton Crop Blues. Later that year, Muddy Waters brought him north to Chicago.

"Muddy had been on a tour down through Tennessee, Georgia, Florida," says Cotton. "Junior Wells was playing with him. Something happened where Junior left the band. He was coming back to Memphis to play, and he needed a harp player. Everybody told him about me, and he came over and found me."  Perhaps Cotton's most memorable moment with Waters came when he blew up a tornado at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival on Muddy's Got My Mojo Working (this live version is often regarded as definitive). "I put the arrangement on there," he notes.

Cotton finally went on his own in 1966. "I wanted to stretch out more on my harp and play more," he says. "A lot of things I wanted to play that I couldn't play in the band, because I was playing Muddy Waters' music." He waxed the first of his three solo LPs for Verve Forecast the next year. "That's the first album that ever kicked off anything for us," says James.

Bassist Charles Calmese and drummer Kenny Johnson drove the Cotton Band's 1974 Buddah LP ‘100% Cotton' like a runaway semi behind James' full-throttle harp and roaring vocals, but ex-Memphis Slim sideman Matt ‘Guitar' Murphy was its MVP. "Matt Murphy joined me about seven years after I had the band," says Cotton. Boogie Thing led it off, the modal Murphy composition not far removed from John Lee Hooker's endless boogie groove with Pete Jekanowski guesting on piano. "'100% Cotton' is the one that's been keeping the bacon in the box," notes Cotton.

Mr. Superharp's voice has been ravaged in recent years by throat cancer, but his harmonica chops remain as prodigious as ever.

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

 

 

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