March 21, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 49 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
HONORING THE LIFE OF JAMES COTTON; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 49
(Extensions of Remarks - March 21, 2017)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E357-E358] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING THE LIFE OF JAMES COTTON ______ HON. STEVE COHEN of tennessee in the house of representatives Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and commemorate the remarkable life of James Cotton who passed away on March 16, 2017, at the age of 81. Mr. Cotton was a pioneering harmonica player who helped establish his instrument as an integral part of modern blues. James Henry Cotton was born on July 1, 1935 in Tunica, MS, the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. His parents, Hattie and Mose were sharecroppers who worked on a cotton plantation and his father was also the preacher at the local Baptist church. Mr. Cotton was inspired to take up the harmonica by his mother and by the time he was 7 years old, he was performing for small change on the streets of nearby towns in the Mississippi Delta. At age 9, he moved in with Sonny Boy Williamson II to learn the instrument and Sonny Boy remained his hero for the rest of his life. Around 1950, Mr. Cotton moved to West Memphis with Sonny Boy, which is where Howlin' Wolf heard him. Mr. Cotton played with Howlin' Wolf appearing in some of the recordings he made with Sam Phillips at Sun Records, in Memphis, in the early 1950s. In 1954, he also made four recordings under his own name for Sun. Mr. Cotton also played with Muddy Waters in Chicago where he contributed to classics like ``Got my Mojo Working'' and ``Rock Me.'' In 1966, Mr. Cotton embarked on a solo career when he formed the [[Page E358]] James Cotton Blues Band which performed with popular acts like Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Santana, and many others. In 1977, Mr. Cotton reunited with Muddy Waters for the album ``Hard Again,'' which won a Grammy Award for best ethnic or traditional recording. His work influenced several major blues-rock groups of the era such as the Allman Brothers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and the Electric Flag. He was much imitated but never duplicated. Mr. Cotton continued to play in concerts and on records well into his 70s and released some two dozen albums. Mr. Cotton moved from Chicago to Memphis in the 1990s, after the death of his first wife, Ceola and he settled in Austin in 2010. In 1997, his album ``Deep in the Blues'' won a Grammy for best traditional blues album and his 2013 album ``Cotton Mouth Man'' was nominated. Mr. Cotton also won several W.C. Handy International Blues Awards (known as the Blues Music Awards since 2006) long considered among the highest accolades for musicians working in Blues. Mr. Cotton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006. Mr. Cotton is survived by his wife and manager, Jacklyn Hairston Cotton; his two daughters, Teresa Hampton and Marshall Ann Cotton; a son, James Patrick Cotton; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. His was a life well lived. ____________________