WUMB July Program Guide

Holly Celebrates Birthdays for Two Blues Greats

On July 1 we celebrate the birthdays of Blues greats, James Cotton and Willie Dixon, both born on the same day 20 years apart. Dixon was not only a noted bass player, but a prolific writer and penned many of the classic Blues tunes that we know today such as, “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, “Back Door Man” and “Spoonful” to name a few. I met him personally only once at a lunch in Memphis in 1989 where he was the keynote speaker. He  came around and spoke to everyone in the room.

I am also fortunate to have spent some time with James Cotton over the years. My favorite interview was done with Cotton, as he was known, on a scorching hot day at the former Quincy Blues Festival. I was the emcee and he was headlining the event. There was no place to go that was private and cool except my car, so that’s where we went. We did the interview with the ac on. He was wonderful and gracious. I recall people peering into the car around us. It was before his throat cancer so he had his full voice. He talked about his life and played a little harp. He left a nip bottle in my car which he signed and I’ve kept to this day. I always went to see him when he came to the Northeast, whether at a festival or local club.   It was a sad day when he passed away in March of 2017. His music lives on.

~ Holly Harris

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