Harp virtuoso James Cotton comes roaring out of the gate on this new album as though the devil himself was hot on his tail with flaming pitchfork in hand. There is a power and fury to his playing that wasn't as evident on some other recent albums. He is a big powerful man whose physical prowess has been hampered a bit by age, throat cancer and a perilous life style; however it hasn't diminished his harp playing one iota. He is still a force of nature to be reckoned with when that harp comes up to his lips, yes his singing is not as strong as it was but the intensity and the feeling is still there. He has enlisted a number of his friends and admirers for vocal assistance such as Ruthie Foster, Greg Allman, Delbert McClinton and others. The throat cancer has weakened those once powerful vocals, however he was inspired and brings the disc to a touching close by doing the vocals, the sound is a rough seashell and gravel road but the phrasing is inimitable on Bonnie Blue. This is one of the seven songs he wrote on this disc. Tom Hambridge who produced the disc wrote 5 more songs, and plays drums.
He has a very high caliber band playing with him all the way through on this disc. Players that are in his road band such as Tom Holland, Noel Neal and Jerry Porter and Darrell Nulisch, as well as a core band of Hambridge, Rob MrNelley (guitar), Chuck Leavell (keyboards) Glenn Worf (bass), plus Tommy MacDonald and Colin Linden who pick up the guitar for a track each. This is a man who has been at it seven decades and, as expected, this is a tight hard hitting disc that at the same time is personal and touching. The hard driving and hard hitting blues from the Chicago of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf is dynamically alive and well.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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