James Henry Cotton

b. July 1st, 1935 in Tunica (Mississippi)

d. March 16th, 2017 in Austin (Texas)

MYSTERY TRAIN

Rounder

SUN RECORDS : THE EARLY YEARS

Hallmark

December 1953 - May 1954

C'est sa mère qui lui offre son premier harmonica alors qu'il est enfant. D'abord influencé par John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson et "Sonny Boy" Williamson (alias Rice Miller) - qu'il écoute dans l'émission de radio "King Biscuit Time" sur KFFA - il intègre la scène de Memphis et joue aux côtés de Joe Willie Wilkins et Willie Nix. James travaille aussi dans le groupe de Joe Hill Louis puis dans celui d'Howlin' Wolf au début des années 50. Repéré par le producteur Sam Phillips, il trouve l'opportunité de graver deux simples pour Sun avec Pat Hare (et sa guitare suramplifiée) et Mose Vinson où il est uniquement chanteur. Ces titres sympathiques (en particulier "Cotton crop blues" et "Hold me in your arms") n'obtiendront malheureusement aucun succès.

It is his mother who offers him his first harmonica while he is a child. First influenced by John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and "Sonny Boy" Williamson (aka Rice Miller) - he listens Miller on the "King Biscuit Time" radio show on KFFA - he integrates the Memphis scene and plays alongside Joe Willie Wilkins and Willie Nix. James also works in Joe Hill Louis' band and then with Howlin' Wolf in the early 50's. Spotted by producer Sam Phillips, he finds the opportunity to cut two singles for Sun with Pat Hare (and his over-amplified guitar) and Mose Vinson in which he is only singer. Unfortunately, these nice tracks (especially "Cotton crop blues" and "Hold me in your arms") will not get any success.

CHRIS BARBER PRESENTS JIMMY COTTON vol.1 & 2

Columbia

August 1961

Vers 1955, James est embauché dans le groupe de Muddy Waters (en alternance avec Little Walter au début) et enregistrera substantiellement à ses côtés durant des années. Avec lui, il joue notamment sur la scène du fameux Newport Jazz Festival en 1960. En tournée en Europe avec Muddy, James trouve l'opportunité d'enregistrer une poignée de titres à Londres grâce au jazzman anglais Chris Barber. Ces morceaux paraissent sur deux EP. Pour la première fois, on peut se rendre compte de ses talents d'harmoniciste et de leader. Derrière James, Chris Barber, Keith Scott et Alexis Korner proposent un accompagnement parfois maladroit. Mais ce matériel mérite clairement l'écoute : "Dealing with the devil", "Standing around crying", "Jimmy's jump", "Goin' down slow".

Around 1955, James was hired into Muddy Waters' band (alternating with Little Walter in the beginning) and would record substantially alongside him for years. With him, he played on the famous Newport Jazz Festival stage in 1960. On tour in Europe with Muddy, James finds the opportunity to record a handful of titles in London thanks to the english jazzman Chris Barber. These songs appear on two EP. For the first time, we can realize his talents as an harmonica player and as a leader. Behind James, Chris Barber, Keith Scott and Alexis Korner give a sometimes clumsy accompaniment. But this material clearly deserves listening : "Dealing with the devil", "Standing around crying", "Jimmy's jump", "Goin' down slow".

THE BLUES TOWN STORY vol.2

Wolf

January 1962

Deux morceaux remarquables dans lesquels James est seul à l'harmonica : "Decoration day" et "Dealin' with the devil".

Two remarkable tracks in which James is alone on harmonica : "Decoration day" and "Dealin' with the devil".

CHICAGO BREAKDOWN

Takoma

RARE GEMS

Roots

3 HARP BOOGIE

Tomato

June 1962

A Chicago, James Cotton se lie d'amitié avec de jeunes musiciens blancs Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield. Ils enregistrent ensemble quelques titres fort intéressants qui sont repris sur diverses anthologies Takoma et Roots ainsi que sur la compilation "3 harp boogie". Il existe une incertitude sur le guitariste : était-ce Mike Bloomfield ou Elvin Bishop ? On peut ressortir "V8 Ford blues", "So glad I'm living" et "Three harp boogie" (avec Cotton, Butterfield et "Billy Boy" Arnold aux harmonicas).

In Chicago, James Cotton becomes friends with young white musicians Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield. They record together some very interesting titles that are included on various Takoma and Roots anthologies as well as on the compilation "3 harp boogie". There is an uncertainty about the guitarist : was it Mike Bloomfield or Elvin Bishop ? We can highlight "V8 Ford blues", "So glad I'm living" and "Three harp boogie" (with Cotton, Butterfield and "Billy Boy" Arnold harmonicas).

MEAT AND GRAVY FROM CADILLAC BABY vol.2

Red Lightnin'

BEA & BABY PRESENTS THE BEST OF CHICAGO BLUES

Wolf

September 1963

Sous la supervision de Narvel Eatmon (alias Cadillac Baby), un très beau simple pour Bea & Baby avec Little Mack Simmons jouant de l'harmonica et James au chant : "One more mile to go" et "There must be a panic on".

Under the supervision of Narvel Eatmon (aka Cadillac Baby), a very nice single for Bea & Baby with Little Mack Simmons playing harmonica and James as a singer : "One more mile to go" and "There must be a panic on".

THE BLUES NEVER DIE

Prestige

November 1964

Cette mythique séance chicagoane produite par Sam Charters pour le label Bluesville est classée dans les meilleures réussites d'Otis Spann. James Cotton, particulièrement brillant à l'harmonica, occupe une place prépondérante dans cet album : il a composé quatre morceaux et chante sur cinq morceaux. Il se montre particulièrement brillant sur les superbes "Feeling good", "Dust my broom", "Straighten up baby", "I'm ready", "One more mile".

This mythical chicagoan session produced by Sam Charters for Bluesville label is classified among the highest achievements of Otis Spann. James Cotton, especially brilliant on harmonica, figures prominently in this album : he wrote four songs and sang five songs. He is particularly brilliant on beautiful "Feeling good", "Dust my broom", "Straighten up baby", "I'm ready", "One more mile".

CHICAGO THE BLUES TODAY vol.2

Vanguard

December 1965

James forme son propre groupe en 1965 avec Otis Spann, le Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet. Grâce au producteur Samuel Charters qui a supervisé cette anthologie, il joue cinq morceaux sublimes où ses qualités de chanteur et de musicien sont à leur zénith ("Cotton crop blues", "The blues keep falling", "West Helena blues" sont de purs joyaux). Son quartet blues est composé de James "Pee Wee" Madison (guitare), Otis Spann (piano) et S.P. Leary (batterie).

James formed his own band in 1965 with Otis Spann, the Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet. Thanks to producer Samuel Charters who supervised this anthology, he plays five sublime pieces in which his skills as a singer and musician are at their zenith ("Cotton crop blues", "The blues keep falling", "West Helena blues" are pure jewels). His blues quartet is composed of James "Pee Wee" Madison (guitar), Otis Spann (piano) and S.P. Leary (drums).

THE JAMES COTTON BLUES BAND

Verve - Forecast

March 1967

Il quitte Muddy Waters en 1966 pour voler de ses propres ailes (mais rejouera régulièrement avec lui) et forme dans la foulée le James Cotton Blues Band l'année suivante. Avec ce groupe, James mélange son Blues avec un son Soul - Rhythm & Blues notamment par l'ajout d'une section cuivres proéminente. Une évolution intéressante qui met, toutefois, son harmonica au second plan par moments. On trouve de nombreux moments remarquables comme "Good time Charlie", "Don't start me talkin'", "Jelly jelly", "Off the wall", "Sweet sixteen", "Blues in my sleep" (ces deux derniers titres agrémentés de la superbe guitare de Luther Tucker). Ce disque est produit par Barry Goldberg, Michael Bloomfield et Norman Dayron.

He left Muddy Waters in 1966 to fly on his own (but will play regularly with him) and formed shortly after the James Cotton Blues Band the following year. With this group, James mixes his Blues with a Soul - Rhythm & Blues sound especially by adding a prominent horn section. An interesting development that puts, however, his harmonica in the background at times. There are many great moments like "Good time Charlie", "Don't start me talkin'", "Jelly jelly", "Off the wall", "Sweet sixteen", "Blues in my sleep" (these last two tracks enhanced by Luther Tucker's superb guitar). This album is produced by Barry Goldberg, Michael Bloomfield and Norman Dayron.

DEALING WITH THE DEVIL

Quicksilver

Intermedia

March 1967

Cette compilation propose quatre morceaux inédits issus des séances du précédent album dont notamment les excellents "I been dealin' with the devil" et "You know it ain't right".

This compilation offers four unreleased songs from the sessions of the previous album including the excellent "I been dealin' with the devil" and "You know it ain't right".

SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY

LATE NIGHT BLUES

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

MIDNIGHT CREEPER

Just a Memory

September 1967

Recueil en 3 CD d'un concert donné à Montreal au New Penelope Cafe en septembre 1967. La qualité sonore est caverneuse ne rendant pas justice aux musiciens. James Cotton alterne entre son propre répertoire et de nombreuses reprises de succès Blues / Soul / Rhythm & Blues. Parfois bouillant, parfois hésitant, ces CD ne devraient plaire qu'aux fans confirmés de Cotton d'autant plus que sa discographie comprend plusieurs live remarquables. Le doucle CD "Midnight creeper" reprend l'intégralité du concert.

3 CD collection of a concert given in Montreal at New Penelope Cafe in september 1967. The sound quality is cavernous not rendering justice to musicians. James Cotton alternates between his own repertoire and many Blues / Soul / Rhythm & Blues successes covers. Sometimes boiling, sometimes hesitant, these CDs should only please confirmed fans of Cotton especially as his discography includes several remarkable live. The double CD "Midnight creeper" compiles the entire concert.

PURE COTTON

Verve - Forecast

February 1968

Deuxième album pour Verve-Forecast, la production est confiée à John Court avec les conseils de Mike Bloomfield (d'après les notes de pochette). Plusieurs changements importants : il n'y a plus de section cuivres et James laisse chanter ses musiciens sur plusieurs morceaux. Un disque plaisant mais inégal avec des titres notables comme "I remember", "Heart attack", "She's murder" et surtout son fameux instrumental "The creeper".

Second album for Verve-Forecast, the production is entrusted to John Court with the advice of Mike Bloomfield (according to the cover notes). Several important changes : there is no more horn section and James lets his musicians sing on several tracks. A pleasant but uneven record with notable titles like "I remember", "Heart attack", "She's murder" and especially his famous instrumental "The creeper".

CUT YOU LOOSE

Vanguard

April 1968

Quelques semaines après "Pure Cotton", James part en Californie (à San Francisco) enregistrer ce "Cut you loose". Produit par Michael Chechik pour Vanguard, James est ici accompagné par Wayne Talbert et son groupe, Melting Pot. Un accompagnement inhabituel mais inspiré qui confère à ce disque un goût bien particulier. De superbes moments comme "Coast blues", "Cut you loose", "River's invitation", "Next time you see me" et l'instrumental "Negative 10-4" (dans lequel James ne semble pas jouer).

A few weeks after "Pure Cotton", James goes to California (San Francisco) to record this "Cut you loose". Produced by Michael Chechik for Vanguard, James is here accompanied by Wayne Talbert and his band, Melting Pot. An unusual but inspired accompaniment that gives this record a very special taste. Great moments like "Coast blues", "Cut you loose", "River's invitation", "Next time you see me" and the instrumental "Negative 10-4" (in which James does not seem to play).

THE BEST OF VANGUARD YEARS

Vanguard

April 1968

Sur cette compilation, on trouve une version inédite de "Next time you see me" issu des séances de "Cut you loose".

On this compilation, we find an unissued version of "Next time you see me" from "Cut you loose" sessions.

COTTON IN YOUR EARS

Verve - Forecast

October 1968

Troisième et dernier album pour Verve-Forecast, produit par Michael Bloomfield et Elliot Mazer, il s'avère franchement décousu avec des titres anecdotiques et des compositions peu abouties.

Third and last album for Verve-Forecast, produced by Michael Bloomfield and Elliot Mazer, it turns out frankly incoherent with anecdotal titles and unsuccessful compositions.

TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL

Oh Boy

August 1969

La musique semble de bon niveau mais la qualité technique de l'enregistrement gâche le plaisir de l'auditeur : qualité sonore moyenne, imperfections sonores, mixage inexistant. Il existe des versions pirates avec des set-lists un peu différentes.

The music sounds good but the technical quality of the recording spoils the listener's pleasure : average sound quality, sound imperfections, no mixing. There are bootleg versions with different set-lists.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Capitol

September 1971

Production de Todd Rundgren et Mark "Moogy" Klingman. Outre Rundgren, on compte la présence de David Sanborn, Matt Murphy, Johnny Winter, Mike Bloomfield, Gene Dinwidddie et de choristes féminines. La production et les arrangements sont trop lourds et noient la voix et l'harmonica de James Cotton. Un disque bien peu convaincant à part peut-être la sympathique reprise acoustique de "She moves me".

Produced by Todd Rundgren and Mark "Moogy" Klingman. In addition to Rundgren, there are David Sanborn, Matt Murphy, Johnny Winter, Mike Bloomfield, Gene Dinwidddie and female singers. The production and arrangements are too heavy and drown out the voice and harmonica of James Cotton. A very unconvincing record except perhaps the nice acoustic cover of "She moves me".

100% COTTON

Buddah

1974

Première livraison pour le label Buddah, cet album exceptionnel possède un son clair et puissant et comprend de nombreux éléments Soul-Funk (production d'Al Dotoli et du James Cotton Band). Impérial à l'harmonica tout au long du programme, James bénéficie d'un groupe diablement efficace : Matt "Guitar" Murphy (guitare), Charles Calmese (basse), Kenny Johnson (batterie), Little Bob (saxophone). Il faut aussi souligner la qualité des compositions parmi les plus aboutis de son répertoire : "All walks of life", "One more mile", "How long can a fool go wrong", l'excitant "Boogie thing" (écrit par Matt Murphy), les instrumentaux "Creeper creeps again", "Burner". On retient également une reprise ultra-rapide de "Rocket 88".

First release for Buddah label, this exceptional album has a clear and powerful sound and includes many Soul-Funk elements (production of Al Dotoli and James Cotton Band). Imperial on harmonica throughout the program, James has a devilishly effective band : Matt "Guitar" Murphy (guitar), Charles Calmese (bass), Kenny Johnson (drums), Little Bob (saxophone). Also worthy of note is the quality of the most accomplished compositions in his repertoire : "All walks of life", "One more mile", "How long can a fool go wrong", the exciting "Boogie thing" (written by Matt Murphy), the instrumental "Creeper creeps again", "Burner". We also point out an ultra-fast cover of "Rocket 88".

HIGH ENERGY

Buddah

1975

Pour ce second album chez Buddah, James enregistre à la Nouvelle Orléans sous la supervision des producteurs Allen Toussaint et Marshall Sehorn. Il est accompagné de son groupe régulier et d'une section cuivres arrangée par Wardell Quezergue. Imprégnation des sons Soul-Funk de la Nouvelle Orléans dans "Hot 'n cold", "Chicken heads", "I got a feeling", "Fannie Mae", "James' theme".

For this second album at Buddah, James records in New Orleans under the supervision of producers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn. He is accompanied by his regular band and a horn section arranged by Wardell Quezergue. Impregnating New Orleans Soul-Funk sounds in "Hot 'n cold", "Chicken heads", "I got a feeling", "Fannie Mae", "James' theme".

LIVE AT ELECTRIC LADY

Sequel

Late 1975 or Early 1976

Séance appartenant à Buddah issue d'un programme radiophonique sur KQ42 mais restée inédite. Elle est éditée finalement par le label anglais Sequel. James et son groupe y sont en grande forme. Mention à Matt "Guitar" Murphy et à la section rythmique Charles Calmese - Ken Johnson conciliant puissance et feeling. La set-list comprend de nombreuses reprises mais dynamisées par ce groupe dévastateur.

Session owned by Buddah from a radio program on KQ42 but remained unreleased. It is finally issued by the english label Sequel. James and his backing band are in great shape. Mention to Matt "Guitar" Murphy and the rhythm section Charles Calmese - Ken Johnson balancing power and feeling. The set-list includes many covers but energized by this devastating group.

LIVE AND ON THE MOVE

Buddah

1976

Dans ce live intense et bouillant, James Cotton est encore une fois remarquable à l'harmonica. Son souffle semble parfois sans fin. Derrière lui, son groupe apparait constamment spontané et énergique (Matt Murphy, Charles Calmese, Ken Johnson, George Gregory, Max Zaitchik). La set-list s'avère peut-être un peu longue mais recèle de vrais moments intenses comme "One more mile", "Cotton boogie", "Flip flop fly", "Boogie thing", "Help me", "Hot 'n cold".

In this intense and fiery live, James Cotton is once again remarkable on harmonica. His breath sometimes seems endless. Behind him, his band appears constantly spontaneous and energetic (Matt Murphy, Charles Calmese, Ken Johnson, George Gregory, Max Zaitchik). The set-list may be a little long but has real intense moments like "One more mile", "Cotton boogie", "Flip flop fly", "Boogie thing", "Help me", "Hot 'n cold".

BOSTON MUSIC HALL

Echoes

February 1977

BREAKIN' IT UP BREAKIN' IT DOWN

Epic - Legacy

March 1977

Après le succès critique et public de "Hard again", Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter et James Cotton partirent en tournée ensemble. La bonne entente entre les trois bluesmen est claire à l'écoute de ces bandes live publiées en 2007 (issues de deux concerts). Toutefois, les trois leaders ne se complètent pas toujours et les titres semblent souvent désordonnés. James chante sur plusieurs morceaux ("Rocket 88", "How long can a fool go wrong").

After the critical and public success of "Hard Again", Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton went on tour together. The good feeling between the three bluesmen is clear when we listen to these live tapes issued in 2007 (from two concerts). However, the three leaders do not always complement each other and the titles often seem disordered. James sings on several tracks ("Rocket 88", "How long can a fool go wrong").

THE PALLADIUM

Geffen

March 1977

Version complète du concert au Palladium de New York (une partie était déjà reprise dans "Breakin' it up breakin' it down") lors de la tournée commune de Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter et James Cotton. Un live sympathique avec quelques longueurs, un peu hétérogène et décousu aussi. James est particulièrement en vue sur "Rocket 88", "Blues in my sleep" et "Walking through the park".

Full version of the New York Palladium concert (a part was already included in "Breakin' it up breakin' it down") during the joint tour of Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton. A nice live with a few lengths, a little heterogeneous and disjointed too. James is particularly prominent on "Rocket 88", "Blues in my sleep" and "Walking through the park".

LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA

Broadcasting Radio Records

LIVE AT TOWER THEATER

DOL

March 1977

Version complète du concert au Tower Theater de Philadelphie (une partie était déjà reprise dans "Breakin' it up breakin' it down") lors de la tournée commune de Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter et James Cotton. James semble plus discret dans ce programme.

Complete version of the concert at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia (a part was already included in "Breakin' it up breakin' it down") during the joint tour of Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton. James seems more discreet in this program.

MY FOUNDATION

Jackal

TAKE ME BACK

Blind Pig

August 1980

Album studio méconnu publié par un label canadien avant d'être réédité par Blind Pig. James est entouré de musiciens expérimentés : Pinetop Perkins, Sammy Lawhorn, John Primer, Bob Anderson, Sam Lay. Il s'agit uniquement d'un disque de reprises mais rendues avec beaucoup de feeling : "Take me back baby", "Dunn got over it", "Dust my broom", "Clouds in my heart".

Unknown studio album released by a canadian label before being reissued by Blind Pig. James is surrounded by experienced musicians : Pinetop Perkins, Sammy Lawhorn, John Primer, Bob Anderson, Sam Lay. This is only an album of covers but made with a lot of feeling : "Take me back baby", "Dunn got over it", "Dust my broom", "Clouds in my heart".

HIGH COMPRESSION

Alligator

Sonet

1984

James grave ce disque pour Alligator lors de deux séances avec deux groupes différents (parmi les musiciens on trouve Pinetop Perkins, Michael Coleman, Magic Slim). Il s'agit ici de blues contemporain et moderne bien produit par Bruce Iglauer et James Cotton. On peut retenir le superbe slow-tempo "23 hours too long", les funky "No cuttin' loose", "Ain't doin' too bad" et "Superharp".

James records this album for Alligator during two sessions with two different bands (among the musicians we find Pinetop Perkins, Michael Coleman, Magic Slim). This is contemporary and modern blues produced by Bruce Iglauer and James Cotton. We can point out the superb slow-tempo "23 hours too long", the funky tunes "No cuttin' loose", "Ain't doin' too bad" and "Superharp".

TENTH ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY vol.1

Antone's

July 1985

Deux bons morceaux (un seul sur le LP original) de James Cotton pour ce concert anniversaire au club Antone's d'Austin.

Two great songs (only one on the original LP) by James Cotton for this birthday concert at the Antone's club in Austin.

LIVE FROM CHICAGO : MR SUPERHARP HIMSELF

Alligator

Sonet

February 1986

Concert au Biddy Mulligan's de Chicago. Le mixage de la section cuivres semble en retrait et par conséquent manque singulièrement de force. James délivre son blues cuivré et funky dans cette bonne performance ("Part time love", "Cross your heart").

Concert at Biddy Mulligan's in Chicago. The mixing of the horn section seems in the background and therefore singularly lacking in strength. James delivers his brassy and funky blues in this good performance ("Part time love", "Cross your heart").

LIVE AT ANTONE'S NIGHTCLUB

Antone's

July 1987

Concert correct sur la scène du club texan Antone's dans lequel James est accompagné par ses deux anciens guitaristes Luther Tucker et Matt "Guitar" Murphy. L'album s'écoute avec plaisir mais manque un peu de flamme et de puissance.

Decent concert on the Antone's Texas club stage in which James is accompanied by his two former guitarists Luther Tucker and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. The album listens with pleasure but lacks a bit of flame and power.

HARP ATTACK

Alligator

Spring - Summer 1990

Quatre grands noms de l'harmonica blues rassemblés au Streeterville Studios de Chicago par Bruce Iglauer pour une réunion fantastique. James brille notamment sur les excellents "Little car blues", "My eyes keep me in trouble", "Black night". Un groupe cinq étoiles est chargé d'accompagner ces vénérables souffleurs : Michael Coleman, Lucky Peterson, Johnny B. Gayden et Ray "Killer" Allison. Au final, une grande réussite qui obtint un grand retentissement public et critique et gagna plusieurs prix.

Four big names of blues harmonica gathered together at Streeterville Studios in Chicago by Bruce Iglauer for a fantastic session. James particularly shines on the excellent "Little car blues", "My eyes keep me in trouble", "Black night". An all-stars backing band is fully competent for supporting these venerable blowers : Michael Coleman, Lucky Peterson, Johnny B. Gayden and Ray "Killer" Allison. In the end, a great achievement which won a great public and critical acclaim and won several awards.

MIGHTY LONG TIME

Antone's

1991

Dans les notes de pochette, on apprend que James Cotton et Clifford Antone ont conçu cet album comme un retour aux racines musicales de James. Sa voix erraillée et son jeu d'harmonica font toujours merveille. Derrière lui, une équipe de grands guitaristes (Jimmie Vaughan, Derek O'Brien, Matt Murphy, Luther Tucker, Hubert Sumlin) et de solides sidemen (Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, Sarah Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones, Willie Smith) jouent avec application et feeling. Inspiration remarquable tout au long du programme notamment dans de superbes versions de "Straighten up baby", "Black nights", "Moanin' at midnight", "Baby please", "Call it stormy monday". Probablement, son disque le plus abouti.

In the sleeve notes, we learn that James Cotton and Clifford Antone designed this album as a return to James' musical roots. His screaming voice and his harmonica playing are always wonderful. Behind him, a team of great guitarists (Jimmie Vaughan, Derek O'Brien, Matt Murphy, Luther Tucker, Hubert Sumlin) and strong sidemen (Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, Sarah Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones, Willie Smith) play with application and feeling. Remarkable inspiration throughout the program including beautiful versions of "Straighten up baby", "Black nights", "Moanin' at midnight", "Baby please", "Call it stormy monday". Probably, his most achieved record.

ANTONE'S ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY vol.2

Antone's

July 1991

Deux beaux morceaux en duo avec le guitariste Hubert Sumlin ("Moanin' at midnight", "Evans shuffle").

Two beautiful duets with guitarist Hubert Sumlin ("Moanin' at midnight", "Evans shuffle").

LIVING THE BLUES

Verve - Gitanes Jazz

March 1993 - January 1994

Album très inégal produit par John Snyder pour la collection Gitanes Jazz. Avec James, il y a un groupe puissant composé de Larry Mac Cray, John Primer, Johnny B. Gayden, Brian Jones. On trouve d'excellents invités - Lucky Peterson, Joe Louis Walker, Dr John - qui amènent aussi leurs talents. Malgré cela, l'album peine à convaincre l'auditeur. Quelques titres sauvent l'album : l'intimiste "Mississippi freight train", l'instrumental "Cotton in the kitchen" et aussi "Take a message", "Mississippi saxophone".

Very uneven album produced by John Snyder for the Gitanes Jazz collection. With James, there is a powerful band consisting of Larry Mac Cray, John Primer, Johnny B. Gayden, Brian Jones. We have great guests - Lucky Peterson, Joe Louis Walker, Dr. John - who also bring their talents. Despite this, the album barely convince the listener. Some titles save the record : the intimate "Mississippi freight train", the instrumental "Cotton in the kitchen" and also "Take a message", "Mississippi saxophone".

YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME (WHEN I'M DEAD AND GONE)

Telarc

December 1994

Une version de "Blow wind blow" gâchée par la voix très abimée de James.

A version of "Blow wind blow" spoiled by the very bad voice of James.

DEEP IN THE BLUES

Verve

August 1995

Au milieu des années 90, il se bat contre un cancer de la gorge mais réussit à poursuivre sa carrière. Lors de ces séances acoustiques et dépouillées dans lesquelles James est accompagné par Joe Louis Walker (guitare), Dave Maxwell (piano) et surtout le jazzman Charlie Haden à la contrebasse qui donne une pulsation très stimulante. Encore une fois, James chante de sa voix désormais bien abimée. En revanche, il reste impeccable à l'harmonica. On peut ressortir "Down at your buryin'", "Dealin' with the devil", "Two trains runnin'" (chanté par Joe Louis Walker).

In the mid-90's, he battled a throat cancer but managed to continue his career. During these stripped and acoustic sessions in which James is accompanied by Joe Louis Walker (guitar), Dave Maxwell (piano) and especially the jazzman Charlie Haden on the double bass which gives a very stimulating heartbeat. Once again, James sings in his now damaged voice. On the other hand, he remains impeccable on harmonica. We can come out "Down at your buryin'", "Dealin' with the devil", "Two trains runnin'" (sung by Joe Louis Walker).

THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER OF SONG

Folkways

October 1997

Un délicieux duo avec le batteur Levon Helm sur "Goin' back to Memphis" capté lors du King Biscuit Blues Festival.

A delicious duet with drummer Levon Helm on "Goin' back to Memphis" captured at the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

FIRE DOWN UNDER THE HILL

Telarc

September 1999

Pour ce premier album chez Telarc, James laissa plusieurs parties chantées à Darrell Nulisch. Toujours inspiré à l'harmonica, il délivre un disque qui pourrait être plaisant s'il n'était pas desservi par sa voix mourante. En dépit de quelques moments intéressants ("Cotton jump boogie", "That's all right", "Lightning"), cet opus semble bien peu convaincant.

For this first album at Telarc, James left several sung parts to Darrell Nulisch. Always inspired on the harmonica, he delivers a record that could be pleasant if he was not spoiled by his dying voice. Despite some interesting moments ("Cotton jump boogie", "That's all right", "Lightning"), this album seems unconvincing.


SUPERHARPS

Telarc

1999

Réunion d'harmonicistes produit par Randy Labbe sous la bannière Telarc. James joue sur les excellents instrumentaux "The hucklebuck", "TD's boogie woogie" ainsi que sur le morceau final "Harp to harp" où tout le monde est réuni. Il accompagne aussi Charlie Musselwhite sur "If I should have bad luck".

Harmonicists meeting produced by Randy Labbe under the Telarc banner. James plays on the excellent instrumental "The hucklebuck", "TD's boogie woogie" and the final song "Harp to harp" where everyone is together. He also accompanies Charlie Musselwhite on "If I should have bad luck".


ROLLIN' INTO MEMPHIS : SONGS OF JOHN HIATT

Telarc

January - June 2000

35TH ANNIVERSARY JAM

Telarc

June 2001

Le firme Telarc a entouré James Cotton de nombreux invités pour cet anniversaire hommage. S'il ne chante plus, il demeure un redoutable harmoniciste capable de technique et d'inspiration (l'instrumental "The creeper"). Le programme est consistant, intense même, avec des moments particulièrement aboutis : "Cotton crop blues" (avec Lucky Peterson), "How long can a fool go wrong" (avec Shemekia Copeland), "Rocket 88" (avec Syl Johnson et Jimmie Vaughan), le superbe slow-blues "Blues in my sleep" (avec G.E. Smith).

The Telarc label has surrounded James Cotton with many guests for this anniversary tribute. If he does not sing anymore, he remains a formidable harmonicist capable of technique and inspiration (the instrumental "The creeper"). The program is consistent, intense even, with particularly successful moments : "Cotton crop blues" (with Lucky Peterson), "How long can a fool go wrong" (with Shemekia Copeland), "Rocket 88" (with Syl Johnson and Jimmie Vaughan), the beautiful slow-blues "Blues in my sleep" (with G.E. Smith).

BABY DON'T YOU TEAR MY CLOTHES

Telarc

October 2003

Dernier disque pour Telarc, il est construit sur le même principe que le précédent. Sauf qu'ici, le résultat s'avère moins percutant, trop lisse, sans flamme. Les moments intenses sont plus rares. Quelques moments sympathiques néanmoins mais globalement ennuyeux.

Last record for Telarc, it is built on the same principle as the previous one. Except that here, the result is less striking, too smooth, without flame. Intense moments are rarer. Some nice moments nevertheless but overall boring.

GIANT

Alligator

2010

Après quelques années passées chez Telarc et un long moment de silence, revoila donc James Cotton chez Alligator. Ici, c'est Slam Allen qui s'occupe des parties vocales avec plus ou moins bonheur. A 75 ans, James montre une fois encore ses talents intacts à l'harmonica : "Heard you're getting married", "Change", "Going down Main Street", "That's all right", "Let yourself go".

After a few years at Telarc and a long silence, James Cotton is back at Alligator. Here, it is Slam Allen who deals with the vocal parts with more or less happiness. At 75, James once again shows his undisputed harmonica talents : "Heard you're getting married", "Change", "Going down Main Street", "That's all right", "Let yourself go".

CHICAGO BLUES LIVING HISTORY : THE (R)EVOLUTION CONTINUES

Raisin' Music

2011

James est invité dans cette excellente anthologie et joue sur un puissant "Rocket 88" en compagnie de Billy Branch.

James is invited in this excellent anthology and plays on a powerful "Rocket 88" with Billy Branch.

COTTON MOUTH MAN

Alligator

2013

Dès le début de l'album, on se rend compte à quel point James reste un superbe harmoniciste malgré son âge. De nombreux invités se relaient au chant (Darrell Nulisch, Gregg Allman, Keb' Mo, Ruthie Foster) avec inspiration. Bonne production de Tom Hambridge (qui a composé la majeure partie de l'album souvent associé à Richard Fleming). Remarquablement puissant et intense, ce disque regorge de sommets comme "Cotton mouth man", "Midnight train", "He was there", "Wrapped around my heart", "Saint on sunday", "Young bold women". Sur le dernier titre, James Cotton chante "Bonnie Blue" avec sa voix mourante uniquement accompagné de Colin Linden. Un moment particulièrement poignant.

From the beginning of the album, we realize how much James remains a superb harmonica player despite his age. Many guests take turns singing (Darrell Nulisch, Gregg Allman, Keb Mo, Ruthie Foster) with inspiration. Good production by Tom Hambridge (who composed most of the album often associated with Richard Fleming). Remarkably powerful and intense, this album is full of summits like "Cotton mouth man", "Midnight train", "He was there", "Wrapped around my heart", "Saint on sunday", "Young bold women". On the last title, James Cotton sings "Bonnie Blue" with his dying voice only accompanied by Colin Linden. A particularly harrowing moment.

MUDDY WATERS 100

Raisin' Music

2015

Album hommage organisé à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance de Muddy Waters. Faisant naturellement partie des invités, James Cotton souffle dans son harmonica sur deux titres "Good news" et "I feel so good".

Tribute album for the centenary of Muddy Waters' birth. Naturally part of the guests, James Cotton blows his harmonica on two tracks "Good news" and "I feel so good".