James Cotton

Most of great blues artists we've featured are no longer with us, but some are still with us.  James Cotton is one of the latter group. Born in Tunica, Mississippi in 1935 (1934 according to some sources), Cotton, despite a number of health issues, still blows a mean harp. He began his blues career in Chicago with the Howlin' Wolf band, and was the harp player for Muddy Waters from 1955-65.  He left Muddy Waters in 1965 and formed the Jimmy Cotton quartet featuring Otis Spahn on piano, and then formed the James Cotton Band in 1967.  Over the years he made numerous recordings, won ten Blues Music Awards, and, in 2006, was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame. Once a powerful singer, Cotton has relied on other singers after a battle with throat cancer in the mid-1990s, but continued to tour and record.  His harmonica style is powerful and evocative with strong use of chords and a soulful feel.  Here is one of his most distinctive songs.

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