Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eddie Cotton Here I Com

Eddie Cotton produced two exceptional albums over a decade ago, Extra and Live at the Alamo Theater, that did not receive the attention the music on them deserved. It was a welcome surprise to discover Cotton has a new release, Here I Come on the new DeChamp label associated with singer-harmonica player, Grady Champion. Cotton and Sam Brady produced this with Champion being Executive Producer. Others on this include Myron Bennett (bass), Samuel Scott, Jr. (drums) and guest artists Grady Champion (harmonica), Carlos Russell (harmonica) and co-producer Brady (organ).

Cotton has a university degree in music and spent time serving his father’s church. He brings some of the church to his soulful vocals and clean, crisp guitar work. An overly simple description of his sound might be Little Milton crossed with some Bobby Rush or Bobby Patterson in his vocals. Other musical influences include Latimore, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield as can be heard in his lyrics which treat relationships in a sophisticated manner.  The Little Milton influence is perhaps most obvious on the terrific slow blues A Woman’s Love that musically suggests Walking the Back Streets and Crying. 

Other songs here include a wonderful soul-laced ballad Friend to the End where Cotton sings about needing a friend who will understand, that he’s man who may mistakes but will never leave her alone with a chorus “Don’t look for me on Facebook; I’ve got a message I want to send; You can’t fool me with no jive picture; but I’m looking for a friend (yes I am) one who will go with me to the end.” No guitar solo, just a tight, understated backing. Get Your Own is a message song with a funky groove followed by the slow Bobby Rush styled Mr. Boo in his lead as he sings about having a sweet thing while channeling Albert King a bit in his stinging playing. Grady Champion adds some down-home flavored harp to Leave Love Alone as Cotton sings when love gets a hold of one, there is nothing one can do. The soulful No Love Back (suggestive of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye) has the memorable line that “love don’t come with no love back guarantee.”

While the playing time is somewhat short (38 minutes), the performances are crisply delivered. There are no overlong blues-rock guitar jams and Cotton’s own solos are focused with plenty of bite to complement his excellent vocals. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another decade for more from Eddie Cotton. Here I Come is a terrific blues gem.

I received this from a publicist. Here is Eddie in performance at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival.

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