James Cotton: It Was A Very Good Year

James Cotton’s It Was a Very Good Year captures the great harmonica master and former Muddy Waters sideman leading a quintet at The New Penelope Cafe in Montreal on Sept. 28, 1967. Cotton was in prime voice back then, and his harp playing was overpowering. They kick up quite a storm on Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” Sonny Boy Williamson’s “She’s My Baby,” Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” and turn in a smoldering rendition of B.B. King’s “Sweet Sixteen” featuring some soul-searing guitar work by Luther Tucker. The sound is at times a bit iffy, but these vintage performances are pure gold.