Rest In Peace, James “Superharp” Cotton, and Chuck Berry.
We lost another great founding bluesman last Thursday, James “Superharp” Cotton at the age of 81. He recorded with many of the great Sun, Chess, and Stax bluesmen as well as loads of solo work. Rest in peace, James Cotton.
Here is one from the early days at Sun, circa 1954. Catalog number 206. Many think that this is one of the first examples of hard-rock guitar.
One of the greatest blues harps of all time.
Cotton blew the harp and sang backing vocals on Muddy’s classic “Got My Mojo Working”
Search the Tube here:
Last Saturday, we also lost Chuck Berry at the age of 90, who is the only person I have ever heard of being prosecuted under the Mann Act. He was also not only a founding father of rock and roll, he may have been the first father of rock and roll. He certainly defined the genre.
Chuck found his way to Chess records in the mid-fifties, and when Leonard Chess was asked what kind of music that was said “I don’t know, but we’re gonna record it”
He had a huge run of Billboard hits including “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “School Day”, “Little Queenie”, “Rock And Roll Music”, and of course “Johnny B. Goode”.
When he served time for taking a girl across state lines for “immoral purposes” all of that came to a crashing halt.
In the early 70s, Chuck made a come-back, which resulted in this, his one and only Number One hit. It showcases his humor, and entertaining talents very well, for the guy who defined rock and roll.
Rest in peace, Chuck Berry.
Johnny B. Goode:
Maybellene (why can’t you be true?)
REO Speedwagon scored a regional hit in the mid 70’s with Chuck’s “Little Queenie”
This might be Boots Randolph on sax, IDK. Either way, Chuck Berry influenced generations of rockers, including the Beatles.