MISSISSIPPI BLUES MAN ‘JAMES COTTON’ DEAD AT 81
Story by Dave (DOS) O’Sullivan
James Henry Cotton was born in Tunica, Mississippi on July 1st 1935. He first became interested in music, more importantly, blues harmonica when he first heard Sonny Boy Williamson II on the radio. He left home with his uncle and moved to West Helena, Arkansas where he tracked down Williamson who mentored him. He began his professional career in the early fifties playing harp in Howlin Wolf’s band.
In 1965 he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Band with Otis Spann to record between gigs with Muddy Waters, alternating harmonica roles with Little Walter.
Cotton battled throat cancer in the mid-1990’s but continued to tour using his band members as singers. He made 30 albums and played on countless more, a true giant of the Blues, admired and copied by many but never topped.
James Cotton passed away in Texas after a severe bout of pneumonia on March, 16th 2017