James Cotton

James Cotton was an acclaimed blues artist who had his own bands and also played with many celebrated blues and rock stars over a long career that began with the Howlin' Wolf Band in the 1950s. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006 and named Best Traditional Male Blues Artist in the Blues Music Awards in 2014, he continued to perform until his death from pneumonia in 2017 at the age of 81. Born in Mississippi, he spent many years in Arkansas mentored by blues singer and harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson II. After a stint with Howlin' Wolf, he worked with the Muddy Waters Band in the 1950s and in the '60s he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Band and released an eponymous album in 1967, which edged onto the Billboard 200. He toured with Janis Joplin and worked with many other artists including Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Santana and Steve Miller. He recorded more albums such as 'Pure Cotton' and 'Cotton in Your Ears', 'Taking Care of Business' and '100% Cotton', which peaked at number 46 on the Billboard 200. He played harmonica on many Muddy Waters albums including his landmark 1960 release 'At Newport' and 'Hard Again', which won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording. His 1996 release 'Deep in the Blues' went to number 13 on Billboard's Blues Albums Chart and he had more success on that chart with 'Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down' with Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter, which went to number three in 2007, 'Giant' in 2010, which peaked at number eight, and 'Cotton Mouth Man' which reached number four in 2013. In its obituary for Cotton, the Los Angeles Times said he was nicknamed Mr. Superharp for "a highly energised performance style that incorporated much of the energy and performance dynamics from rock 'n' roll".

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Stations Featuring James Cotton

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