Eddie Cotton, Jr., hails from Vicksburg, Mississippi. With a musical background from Jackson State University, working with Jackson-area bluesman King Edward Antoine, and serving as minister of music in his father’s church, Eddie Cotton was the 2015 winner of the IBC band competition, the second winner in a row nominated by the Vicksburg Blues Society. As you will recall, Mr Sipp was the 2014 winner. Cotton blends blues and soul into a spicy mélange of sweet music.
Cotton’s band includes JJ Thames on backing vocals, Myron Bennett on bass, Samuel Scott Jr. on drums James “Hotdoog” Lewis on organ and keys, and the Jackson Horns (Kimble Funchess on trumpet, Jessie Primer III on sax and Mike Weidick on trombone). Funchess and Harrison Calloway did the horn arrangements.
Starting off we get the title track, a funky cut of Cotton’ s blues and soul as Eddie bemoans the fact that he can only take care of one woman at a time. His guitar, the horns and organ are arranged well. His work on vocals and guitar on this song and throughout are spectacular. His guitar solo here on this is huge. “Be Careful” Has Eddie trading vocals with some licks on the harp by Carlos Russell. Nicely done slow blues! “Better Deal” is more up tempo and funky number with Eddie going falsetto at times to sing about liking a woman different from all the others. He’s gotten the, “Better deal.” In “The Catch I Wanted” we have another song concerned with the woman he has in his life. This is pretty much straight up funk a great groove. “Dead End Street” is a slow, soulful tune about life and relationships re energized in the backseat of a car on dead end street. A big guitar intro starts “Fair Weather Lover” off as Cotton testifies with his six strings to us before doing so with words. Sloooooow blues that are deep and full of grit. “Filling Me With Pleasure” is a cool R&B number with a well-distorted guitar and a funky backbeat and nice organ work.
In “Hard Race to Win” Cotton returns to soulful, slow tempo-ed blues Eddie tells of his fathers’ advice. The preacher told him life is a hard race to win and how he’s come to grips with life as he keeps learning. There is a beautiful, stinging guitar solo here as Cotton winds his way through the cut. “Je Ne Sais Quoi,” or “I Don’t Know Why,” is next, a song about a women he can’t quite explain More soulful, slow, funky blues. Cotton picks out a great beat on his guitar and the organ bridges between the chorus and verses as he unsuccessfully tries to figure his woman’s appeal. Next up is “Mississippi,” a tribute to his home state. It’s a nice, bouncy, mid-tempo blues with a funky side. Cotton spells out the state’s name and the band responds in a swinging kind of a call and response. Eddie’s guitar stings like a hornet in the solo here. “My Money” is straight up blues with Grady Champion filling the harp duties as he and Cotton spar back and forth. Cotton’s guitar is impressive while Champions sound and approach on harp is good but somewhat repetitive. The organ and horns intro “Ego at Your Door,” a soul-filled R&B number “Race to the Dollar”talks to us about the struggles to make ends meet. Shirking family life to earn and spend it all before their needs are met is one of the darker songs here and Cotton punctuates the mood well with his guitar work. He closes out the album with “War is Over,” an outstanding very slow piece that opens with a great guitar intro and then gets into a mournful and sweet call to his woman, “Let’s make love the war is over” and to wipe the slate clean and start all over.” The guitar is impeccable here as Cotton works over the slow backbeat and gives an impassioned performance.
I really liked Cotton’s last album, but this one is really spectacular. Soul, funk, blues and R&B all stirred together into a wonderful mix of tasteful and tasty original songs. Fans of the blues and souls will find this album right up their sleeves. Most highly recommended!!!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This album is nominated for a 2015 Blues Music Award.