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James Cotton
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    (July 1, 1935-March 16, 2017)
    Born in Tunica, Mississippi
    Blues harmonica player
    Played with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters
    Recorded the solo albums ‘The James Cotton Blues Band’ (1967), ‘Cotton in Your Ears’ (1968), ‘Taking Care of Business‘ (1970), ‘High Energy’ (1978), ‘High Compression’ (1984), ‘Take Me Back’ (1987), ‘Living the Blues’ (1994), ‘Deep in the Blues’ (1996), ‘35th Anniversary Jam’ (2002) and ‘Cotton Mouth Man’ (2013)
    Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame (2006)
    Nicknamed ‘Mr. Superharp’
    When he was in his teens, he would ‘open’ for fellow blues harmonica legend Sonny Boy Williamson by playing on the steps of juke joints he was too young to enter.
    He said Williamson taught him ‘how to drink, how to chase women and how to play the blues.’
    For two years after he joined Muddy Waters’ touring band, Chess Records insisted on using his predecessor, Little Walter, on Muddy’s recording sessions (1952-54).
    He slept with his harmonicas.
    He had such powerful lungs, he could suck the reeds out of a harmonica.
    He convinced Muddy Waters to record ‘Got My Mojo Working,’ which became one of Muddy’s signature songs.
    He toured with Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.
    He had a high-energy stage show in which he would perform back flips while playing.
    He had to give up singing after undergoing surgery for throat cancer (), but continued playing harmonica (1994).

Credit: C. Fishel

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