James Cotton is a true harmonica legend. His aggressive, full toned harp approach defined a more contemporary approach to the instrument while simultaneously remaining true to the blues tradition. He was a long time member of the Muddy Waters blues band before launching his own solo career. Though he made a handful of wonderful recordings in the 1950s, it was not until the following decade that he would emerge from behind the shadow of Little Walter. Cotton’s full throttle approach resonated with the crossover audiences of the 1960s. Please enjoy this photo page dedicated to harmonica master James Cotton!
The Muddy Waters Band with Muddy, James Cotton, Sammy Lawhorn, Pee Wee Madison.
Newport Jazz Festival, 1965 – photo by John Hopkins.
James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann on Muddy’s porch!
James Cotton with Pat Hare on guitar. Photo George Adins.
The James Cotton Blues Band with (left to right) Luther Tucker, Francis Clay, James Cotton, Alberto Gianquinto, Bobby Anderson.
Otis Spann and James Cotton!
Little Walter and James Cotton. Photo by Ernest Withers.
James Cotton and Muddy Waters!
This is the cover for James Cotton’s highly revered debut album on Verve!
Jimmy Rushing, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Terry, Muddy Waters, Brownie McGhee and James Cotton (kneeling)
James Cotton in 1956!
A rare and wonderful James Cotton single, James Cotton / Complete This Order on the Loma label.
An early James Cotton single on Sun Records!
James Cotton with The Chris Barber Band.
James Cotton with The Chris Barber Band.
S.P. Leary, James Cotton, Otis Spann, Pee Wee Madison
Junior Wells, Kim Wilson, James Cotton at Antones. Photo Susan Antone.
James Cotton with Sammy Lawhorn at Theresa’s Lounge. Photo Hasse Andréasson.
James Cotton and Buddy Guy!
Muddy Waters and James Cotton, New York 1965. Photo Dick Waterman.
James Cotton and Buddy Miles, 1967.
James Cotton and Muddy Waters at Ontario Place, Canada in 1978. That’s Bob Margolin’s side view partially obscured to the left!
James Cotton was one of the few blues artists of the 1960s able to cross-over with appeal to rock audiences. Shows like this one at the Fillmore Auditorium found James Cotton Blues Band packaged with some of the biggest names in rock music. This was a common occurrence for James Cotton!
Left to right: Barrelhouse Chuck, David Maxwell, Bob Corritore, James Cotton, Noel Neal , Jacklyn Hairston Cotton (wife of James Cotton), Paul Oscher, Little Frank Krakowski. This photo by Mona Watkins in Austin Texas at a dinner gathering after Pinetop Perkins funeral in 2011.
James Cotton holding court at Theresa’s!
James Cotton, Matty Rollins, Little Walter, unknown, Muddy Waters in Washington DC, 1959. Photo courtesy Matty Rollins.
Otis Spann, Bob Hadley, James Cotton with Muddy Waters, Mildred McGhee and 2 unidentified woman relaxing at the 708 Club in Chicago 1956. Photo courtesy Mud Morganfield.
CIRCA 1975: Blues musician James Cotton poses for a portrait circa 1975. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives)
James Cotton and Bob Corritore, Rhythm Room, Phoenix 2005. Photo by Tom Grill.
James Cotton is number one! Photo by Bob Margolin.
Photo from Muddy Waters “Hard Again” album!
L-R: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, Muddy Waters, Charles Calmese, Johnny Winter, Pinetop Perkins.
2005, House Of Blues Studio in Memphis, Steven Seagal session. Waiting for Steven to arrive. James Cotton, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Koko Taylor, Hubert Sumlin. Photo by Bob Margolin.
James Cotton, Labor Day weekend 1969, Texas International Pop Festival, Lewisville, TX. Photo by Steve Campbell.
Muddy Waters Tribute Set at the 2012 Simi Valley Blues Festival. All the harp players overjoyed by the master blaster on the set finale! L-R: Bob Corritore, Darrell Nulisch, James Cotton, Rod Piazza. Photo by Marilyn Stringer.
Jimmy Rogers and James Cotton, Chicago Blues Festival!
Pinetop Perkins, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, Jimmy Rogers, Snooky Pryor, Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and James Cotton at Antone’s in Austin, Texas.
L-R: Unidentified sax player, Otis Spann (with harmonica), St. Louis Jimmy, Hubert Sumlin (seated), James Cotton
James Cotton and Sonny Boy Williamson!
Dave Riley and James Cotton, 2010. Photo Bob Corritore.
The Muddy Waters Band: S.P. Leary, Sammy Lawhorn, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Hubert Sumlin.