Blues Great James Cotton Dead at 81
Legendary blues man James Cotton has died in Texas, aged 81. The harmonica virtuoso, who served as Muddy Waters’ sideman, lost a battle with pneumonia on Thursday.
Born on a cotton farm in Mississippi in 1935, Cotton found fame as a Sun Records recording artist and toured with Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf. His hits include “Straighten Up Baby” and “Got My Mojo Working.” Dubbed ‘Mr. Superharp’ for his harmonica skills, he formed the James Cotton Band in 1966 and also hit the stage with the likes of Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and Santana. He also made appearances on albums by Steve Miller. He won the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy for Deep in the Blues in 1997. His most recent album was 2013’s Cotton Mouth Man, which was also Grammy nominated. In 2015, he received the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal’s B.B. King Award for his contributions to the blues.