Special Sections » Beale Street Tonight

James Cotton "Superharp"

by

comment

As a boy, James Cotton "Superharp" got his first 15-cent harmonica for Christmas. He taught himself "the chicken" and "the train" before learning a handful of Sonny Boy Williamson songs by listening to the radio show King Biscuit Time. When Cotton came to Memphis, he was underage and couldn't go inside the juke joints, so he played his harp on Beale and shined shoes for tips. At 15, Cotton recorded four songs at Sun Studios and went on to play with Muddy Waters for 12 years. He still tours today and is honored with a brass note on Beale's Walk of Fame.

Add a comment