Shemekia Copeland

Blues harmonica player James Cotton, Mr. Superharp, dies at 81

Blues harmonica player James Cotton, Mr. Superharp, dies at 81

Mississippi blues harp player James Cotton was certainly considered lucky for the break he got joining Muddy Waters’ band in the late 1950s, taking over a spot previously held by such venerated harmonica whizzes as Little Walter and Junior Wells.

But it wasn’t a one-way street. Cotton is credited with the suggestion that Waters add a particular song to his repertoire, one that soon became Waters’ musical calling card: “Got My Mojo Working.”

That may well be part of the reason that Waters was always ready to share the spotlight with other musicians with him on a bandstand.

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