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James Cotton Superharp Band featuring Elvin Bishop
Mar 23-Mar 25, 2012
Friday, March 23 8pm & 10pm
Saturday, March 24 8pm & 10pm
Sunday, March 25 6pm 8pm
all sets $28 each
The musical pedigree of Grammy Award winner James “Superharp” Cotton consists of a veritable who’s who in the world of the Blues. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006, the Smithsonian Institute in 1991, and winner of countless W.C. Handy Blues Awards, he has shared the stage with B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter, the Allman Brothers, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Sam and Dave, The Grateful Dead among many others.
An orphan at the age of nine, he was raised in Mississippi by his mentor, Sonny Boy Williamson, who remains famous for his many unique songs and innovative Delta Blues harmonica style. As a young teenager Cotton befriended Howlin’ Wolf and joined forces with him playing Mississippi and Arkansas juke joints for two years. During that time Cotton hosted his own afternoon radio show in West Memphis, AR and also recorded “Cotton Crop Blues” and three other songs on Sun Records in Memphis. In 1954 when Muddy Waters needed a harmonica player, he found Cotton playing a club in Arkansas and took him to Chicago. Cotton remained with Waters for 12 years not only playing shows but also recording with him on Chess Records. One of the highlights of that period came when Cotton arranged the ever-popular anthem for the blues, “Got My Mojo Workin’, “ which was played for the first time by the Muddy Waters Band at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1961.
In 1966 Cotton formed his James Cotton Blues Band which continues to showcase his immense talent and keeps him one of the most sought-after, hard-driving, seminal blues musicians touring the world today.
Cotton passionately explains, ”My audience always tells me how I’m doing. If I look out there and don’t like what I see, I work harder.” His audiences are still on their feet, they enjoy themselves as much as he does, and there continue to be standing ovations night after night. You will have a memorable evening with an international treasure and a true Living Legend of the Blues.
What an amazing adventure “Superharp” is experiencing with his little harmonica.
Elvin Bishop's musical biography is no secret to anyone who has followed blues or rock over the past 40 years. Taken under wing by legendary bluesman Little Smokey Smothers in the '60s, Bishop found a wide audience as guitarist in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and in the '70s scored a Top-10 radio hit with "Fooled Around and Fell in Love." Along the way, he's carved out a niche all his own, playing an appealing mix of rootsy rock 'n' roll, R&B and barroom boogie, steeped in the heavy blues he learned from Little Smokey all those years ago.
So when a bunch of close friends who also happen to be consummate musicians are sequestered together, as they were at sea on the 2010 Legendary Blues Cruise, what else were they to do but unite forces to create some truly exemplary music? Thankfully the tapes were rolling, and the musical experience was saved for posterity. Delta Groove Music released the resultant Raisin' Hell Revue live album on May 17, 2011. And with the good vibes of a ship full of fellow music lovers to buoy the band, you can really hear that everyone was having a great time.
Over the course of their featured performance, Bishop shares the vocal mic with four hard-hitting pros: blues veteran Finis Tasby (Lowell Fulson, Freddie King, Clarence Carter, Z.Z. Hill), fast-rising harmonica man John Németh (Anson Funderburgh, Junior Watson), Norwegian blues guitar star Chris (Kid) Anderson (Charlie Musselwhite's band), and Bishop's long-time band-mate and Bay Area legend, saxophonist Terry Hanck. They work their way through a strutting, soulful set of blues and R&B with the powerful grace of a veteran working outfit, perfectly highlighting the strengths of everyone involved. And it really is a "revue" in the classic sense of the term — various band members representing a wide array of styles move in and out of the spotlight, all presided over by the good-humored and congenial master of ceremonies Elvin Bishop. We're treated to swinging up-tempo R&B, lowdown blues, rootsy rock 'n' roll, and a touch of gospel; even a fantastic reworking of Bishop's smash hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" is included featuring the wonderfully gifted and dynamic vocalist John Németh.