Wednesday Night Music Byte

James Cotton

Lynnrockets will be attending a concert in Greater Boston this Friday evening titled, “Boston legends: A Tribute To James Cotton“. The show will feature  Michael Carabello of Santana, former Boston member Sib Hashian, David Hull of The Joe Perry Project, Jon Butcher of Jon Butcher Axis, Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band with the James Montgomery Band, Billy Squire (“The Stroke” and “Everybody Wants You”) and The Uptown Horns (known for performing with the Rolling Stones and the J. Geils Band). James Cotton will be in attendance and may, or may not, perform.

The Lynn Item reports, “As the youngest child in a large family, James Cotton grew up in cotton fields in Tunica, MS where he worked alongside his parents. His father Mose was a Baptist preacher.

Cotton says some of his earliest memories are of his mother playing chicken and train sounds on her harmonica and for a few years he thought those were the only sounds the harmonica could make. That idea evaporated quickly when Cotton received a 15 cent harmonica for Christmas one year. Cotton said when he heard the harmonica legend Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) playing on the radio, his love affair with the harmonica started.

At age 9, Cotton lost both his parents and an uncle introduced him to Williamson.

Cotton said he immediately started playing Williamson’s radio show theme song.

“I walked up and played it for him,” he said. “And I played it note for note. And he looked at that. He had to pay attention.”

The two were inseparable for years following that encounter and Cotton, who was too young to go into the juke joints where Williamson performed, would stay outside and play for tips. In 1954, Cotton got a break when Muddy Waters hired him to play harp in his band. You would be hard pressed to find a blues performer Cotton has not played with over the years. This year marks Cotton’s 66th year in the entertainment business and the show at Lynn City Hall is a fitting tribute to the Grammy Award winner, who has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian Institution.”

Please enjoy these video clips of James Cotton. The first is vintage Cotton playing “Slow Blues” and the second is Cotton and J. Geils of the J. Geils Band performing together in 2008 at The Roxy in Boston. Please enjoy. We will report on the concert later.


Posted on May 19, 2010, in Songs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks—I just learned one of my cats is a James Cotton fan. The little flirt ran over when the first clip started.

  2. I’d be hoping they play this song.
    Have a good time!

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