Thursday, March 16, 2017

James Cotton, King of the Blues Harp, Dead at 81

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 6:47 PM

click to enlarge james_cotton_monterey_1981.jpg
No matter who was headlining, James Cotton was always the act to see at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas. Cotton was the direct link to the festival's namesake King Biscuit Flour Hour, and the radio show's harp-blowing star Sonny Boy Williamson. For many years Cotton, who became Williamson's protege, even claimed Sonny Boy as his surrogate father.

Cotton was the blues. As a child shining shoes in Downtown Memphis he'd sneak into Beale Street clubs on his hands and knees to see the players inside. Over the course of his long career he backed Howlin' Wolf,  toured with Janis Joplin and came to be regarded as the elder statesman of blues harp. Seeing the old master play in Helena, where he learned his craft at the feet of the previous old, master was about as close as any fan could get to a perfect blues experience.

James Cotton passed away on Thursday, March 16, 2007. He was 81.



Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

Most Commented On

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation