A while back, I had the chance to see James Cotton live.
There aren't many living blues legends left, and it's always a special occasion when you can see one of them. Check, hear one of them.
Even though he belongs to a younger generation, Cotton has a direct connection to many of the greats that influenced modern music: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, Sonny Boy Williamson, B.B. King. He played with 'em all. He's also played with the generation of blues masters that followed: Taj Mahal, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop ...
Cotton has also played with the students of all those guys, the ones that directly defined the classic rock sound: Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Santana, Johnny Winter, The Grateful Dead ...
A sonic thread woven through blues rock, Memphis, Chicago and the Delta. A great songwriter, and an inspired blues harp player.
What a great show! He can barely walk, he can't really talk, but man can he wail! Great songs, tight band, and one of the best to ever hold a harmonica over a microphone.
Cotton's special guest was Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who has played for Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Etta James and Chuck Berry. He left the fancy, showy stuff to the two younger guitarists in the band, but I'd say he had the winning percentage of tastiest licks delivered that night.
Two blues greats, two living legends, two real-time music lessons for the price of one. As thrilling as seeing a McCartney show? No, of course not. Value for money? You bet!
A while back,