God Bless James Cotton

James Cotton was born in Mississippi, living in the villages around Memphis - like West Helena, Arkansas - before rising to prominence as a harmonica player in Howlin' Wolf's early 1950's line-up.

Mentored as a harmonica player by the great Sonny Boy Williamson II, his standout live performances caught the attention of Muddy Waters, who recruited Cotton to become a member of his touring band replacing Little Walter, whose own solo career was taking off.

James Cotton became the bandleader of the Muddy Waters band, perhaps the greatest assemblage of blues musicians ever collected.  If you listen to those 1960's recordings, you hear absolute masters at every instrument playing their parts with perfection.  There is nothing else like it.

James Cotton then embarked on a glorious solo career that resulted in Grammy awards and global acclaim.  After being stricken with throat cancer in the mid-1990's, he continued to write, record, and perform.

I have seen him perform live a half dozen, or so, times.  I can truly say that I have never seen a harmonica player finer.

God Bless James Cotton.

Click Here to watch Muddy Waters perform Got My Mojo Workin' live in 1966, featuring James Cotton on Harmonica.

Click Here to watch Keith Richards and James Cotton perform Little Red Rooster.

Click Here to read my May 2013 blog post on the James Cotton song Bonnie Blue.