James Cotton Hepburn Theater Old Saybrook - February 2015
View: balcony, first row
After a few warm-up numbers by his band, James Cotton made his way across the stage, with some effort. Leaning heavily on a cane, he made it to his welcoming chair. On a table within reach were his harps, and we were privy to a set by the last surviving member of Muddy Waters’ phenomenal 50s band. And perhaps, the only man who could transform the glamourous Kate into a Chicago juke joint, with a harp tone like no other.
At 80, the voice has been reduced to a hoarse whisper, so he leaves the vocals to others, like the poignant The Things That I Used To Do, Jimmy Reed’s Honest I Do and Jackie Brenston’s Rocket 88. He Was There, from Cotton’s recent Tom Hambridge-produced Cotton Mouth Man, is an indicator that there’s still fuel in the tank. He closed with a favourite of his old boss, Muddy Waters’ Got My Mojo Workin’.
Published in Record Collector Magazine