photo credit: Christopher Durst
78 Year-old James “Superharp” Cotton Records Autobiographical Album Cotton Mouth Man
September 5, 2013 - 78 year-old harmonica master James Cotton is a giant of the blues.
Born in 1935 on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Mississippi he started out early, learning the instrument from Sonny Boy Williamson who had a radio show right across the river in West Helena, Arkansas. After listening to Sonny Boy’s show and imitating him on a harmonica that his mother gave him, he met Williamson, who took James under his wing. At the age of 15 Cotton met and played with Howlin’ Wolf who took him to record at Sun Studios in Memphis. Later, while on tour, Muddy Waters looked up Cotton to replace the unreliable Junior Wells in his band and James stayed on the road for a dozen years. During the 70’s he was a staple of high energy shows in rock arenas. Despite losing his voice to surgery for throat cancer Cotton is still performing and has just released the largely autobiographical album Cotton Mouth Man.