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date: 19 February 2020

Cotton, Jameslocked

  • Dina M. Bennett


(b Tunica, MS, July 1, 1935; d Austin, March 16, 2017). American blues harmonica player, singer, and bandleader. Known as “Superharp,” he grew up in the cotton fields of Mississippi and began learning to play the harmonica by the age of nine. After his parents died, he went to live with blues harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson (II) who became his mentor. As Williamson’s opening act, the two traveled together and played in various juke joints throughout the South. Soon thereafter, Cotton met Howlin’ Wolf in an Arkansas juke joint and went on the road with him. In the mid-1950s, he became Muddy Waters’ harp player, and in 1958 he recorded “Sugar Sweet” and “Close to You” with the Muddy Waters band on Chess Records. Cotton served as alternating harp player with Little Walter on Waters’ recording sessions until the 1960s. In 1966, he left Waters’ band and a year later formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Band. As a bandleader and solo artist, Cotton became famous for his animated playing style and his back flips on stage. In the 1970s, he recorded several albums for Buddah Records, including ...

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