† James Cotton

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Superharps united: Blues Legend James Cotton is SEYDEL endorsee.

James “Superharp” Cotton, came out wailing 73 years ago and it has taken nearly that long to unite with his Superharp, the SEYDEL 1847!

Cotton plays hard, and now he blows through reeds as strong as the permanent steel roadside marker erected by the state of Mississippi to commemorate his 1935 birth, at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Bonnie Blue Plantation Road.

Some of Cotton's earliest memories are imprints of harmonica sounds as he heard his hardworking mother passing the few, precious moments of free time with chicken and train sounds, or filling the night with her gentle harmonica lullaby.

As a small child, he thought he had explored the limit of the instrument after mastering his mother's music. Then, one day at high noon, he glimpsed an auditory snapshot that would change his life forever as his ears strained to hear the mysterious, hypnotic cadence of Sonny Boy Williamson pouring his life force into a wood comb and 20 vibrating reeds and through a single crackling speaker in the family's AM radio, its vacuum tubes glowing like the hell-hot, brutal sun that parched the Mississippi landscape.

He practiced when he could. After hauling water to exhausted cotton-field workers, the young Cotton escaped the brutal heat for a few moments at a time by sitting in the shade cast by the plantation owner’s horse and expressing himself on the harp in his newly-found language.

By age 9, Cotton was an orphan and within a few weeks, he was living on the road and playing with Sonny Boy Williamson. He was still a teenager when he played for Howling Wolf and was still a very young man when he joined Muddy Waters, so by the age of 22, he had played harmonica for three of history’s most influential and legendary blues bands, filling shoes vacated by no less giants than Junior Wells and Little Walter.

Cotton is among the last of the Chicago bluesmen who made the harmonica much of what it is today. He has won several Grammys and W.C. Handy awards, as well as a multitude of other honors, but perhaps the greatest honor is musical immortality - when people think of the harmonica, they think of that Chicago sound Cotton helped create, and still blasts out to this day.

Besides the Grammy for "Best Blus Album Of The Year" for his latest Album "Cotton Mouth Man" in 2013 he now won the Mississippi Arts Commission Governor's Liftime Achievement Award...watch the video below:

 

 

When asked to honor Little Walter at Walter's recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Cotton poured out his classic Chicago sound blues with SEYDEL stainless steel reeds. He's also using the 1847s to record his latest live album at Washington D.C.'s Blues Alley.

SEYDEL, the world’s oldest harmonica company, is pleased that its superharp, the 1847, is now the harp of choice for one of blues’ greatest legends, Mr. Superharp himself, James Cotton.



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† James Cotton
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