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It Was a Very Good Year

James Cotton

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Album Review

James Cotton's It Was a Very Good Year is a tribute CD that has been restored from its "live" performance in Montreal's the New Penelope Cafe in the late '60s. The benefit of today's technology has assisted in capturing the chomaticism inherent in the harmonica playing of James Cotton, excitement of Albert Gianquito's piano (you may remember him from his stints with Santana), Bobby Anderson on bass, Francis Clay on drums, and Luther Tucker on guitar. This blues band features a broad selection of tunes that range from the opener, "It Was a Very Good Year," in a sultry Latinized version to "The Midnight Creeper," a number loosely based on Little Walter Jacobs' "Juke." Cotton performs excellent covers of Muddy Waters' famous "Hoochie Coochie Man" and Otis Rush's big hit, "I Can't Quit You Baby." The highlight of this great set is the Paul Butterfield Blues Band hit "One More Mile," written by Cotton and featuring a dark elemental blues, which is a stark contrast to Cotton's well-known style. This is a great find for those that may have thrown out their Cotton LPs, and this newly restored CD is a nice treasure for blues fans.

Biography

Born: 01 July 1935 in Tunica, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

At his high-energy, 1970s peak as a bandleader, James Cotton was a bouncing, sweaty, whirling dervish of a bluesman, roaring his vocals and all but sucking the reeds right out of his defenseless little harmonicas with his prodigious lung power. Due to throat problems, Cotton's vocals are no longer what they used to be, but he remains a masterful instrumentalist. Cotton had some gargantuan shoes to fill when he stepped into Little Walter's slot as Muddy Waters' harp ace in 1954, but for the next dozen...
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