James Cotton to me is an artist who has often been overlooked when it comes to the all-time greats of the blues. I think that James is one of the best bluesmen ever, so I am very pleased to be able to review this new album from James Cotton.
The album has lots of guests singers on it, this is because of the sad fact that James's voice is suffering from time and other destructive forces, but on a brighter note his harmonica playing is still of the highest caliber.
The album celebrates James starting his own blues band back in 1966, after being with the Muddy Waters band for many years. the CD comprises of 12 songs, of which 10 were written by James.
The opening number Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me Talking" has Kenny Neal guesting on the vocal, the lively song has some superb harp from James as a gruff voiced Kenny just about manages to finish his vocal before he goes hoarse. "Cotton Crop Blues" has some nice rhythm guitar from the wonderful Derek O'Brien, whilst Lucky Peterson gives a good showing on vocal, David Maxwell on piano and James adding his classy harp playing bring the whole thing to a great climax. "Rocket 88" is a ninety miles an hour hard driven song with Syl Johnson doing a good job on vocals, Per Hanson
lays down a cracking beat on his drums as Jimmie Vaughan squeezes every last ounce out of his guitar. Koko Taylor gives a soulful vocal delivery on "I've Got A Feeling" and James really gets his harp wailing on this cracking piece of music. The same formula is used again on "Fatuation" with Bobby Rush sounding very soulful on vocal duties and with James's harp wailing and pleading, it makes this track is a highlight of the album.
Shemekia Copeland belting vocal on "How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong?" is yet another highlight. Kim Wilson handles the vocal on Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation", Kim also helps James out on the harp, to make this a very pleasant song. "Blues For The Hook" is the final piece, which is an instrumental with just James and Jimmie Vaughan, who plays some John Lee Hooker riffs, whilst James plays his harp with lots of passion and feeling as the two of them trade licks on this wonderful tribute to John Lee. John Lee Hooker must be looking down from heaven with an approving nod
of the head.
Sometimes these all star line-ups don't always work but credit to producer Randy Labbe he has managed to get the best out of the band and the guests. James Cotton's harp playing still has fire, passion and soul and if for only these reasons this album is a must.
James Cotton - harmonica
Mike Williams -- rhythm guitar
David Maxwell -- piano
Noel Neal -- bass
Per Hanson -- drums
With Special Guests:
Tab Benoit - guitar
Shemekia Copeland -- vocal
Ronnie Hawkins -- vocal
Syl Johnson -- vocal
Maria Muldaur - vocal
Kenny Neal - vocal
Lucky Peterson -- vocal, guitar
Bobby Rush -- vocal
G.E. Smith -- guitar
Koko Taylor -- vocal
Jimmie Vaughn -- guitar
Kim Wilson -- vocal, harp
James Cotton Website is www.jamescottonsuperharp.com
Telarc Website is www.telarc.com
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
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