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James Cotton, Roots Music Legend, Talks the Blues: "I'll Be Playin' Till I Die"

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Get your mojo workin' on St. Paddy's Day with a crucial American blues superhero.

James Cotton -- the man known as "Superharp," veteran of the Muddy Waters band, the Howlin Wolf band, the man who got "Killin' Floor" guitar blazer Hubert Sumlin up to Chicago to join Chester Burnett's show, and a damn fine, Grammy-winning solo musican in his own right -- is coming to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, thanks to Tigertail Productions.

The man plays the harmonica like a one man symphony, and he's got a killer band backing him too. We got a couple minutes with Mr. Cotton on the phone. Here's what he had to say.

Crossfade: Have you ever been to Miami?

James Cotton: Oh yeah, I been there. I played with Muddy Waters there a couple times. Can't remember just where, I been on the road for so long.

Why is it important to keep this music alive?

I'll be playin' till I die.

Will you continue recording?

Every time I get a chance to. My latest CD is available for sale, and we'll have it at the show too.

What is your favorite Sonny Boy Williamson song?

"Nine Below Zero."

Who is your favorite singer today?

Willie Nelson. When I lived in Texas I used to go see him play all the time. I like to listen to some of everybody. I like music. Music is music to me. Every time you listen to it, you learn somethin' new you didnt know.

What was it like working with Hubert Sumlin?

He was my best friend for 61 years. Howlin' Wolf hired him out of my band. He drove out to Hubert's house out in the country in Arkansas and offered him a job. Hubert came to me and I said, "You gotta go to Chicago."

What are you gonna play for the people on Saturday night?

We gonna play the blues for em'.

James Cotton. Saturday, March 17. South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 St., Cutler Bay. The show starts at 8 p.m. with pre-show Blues & BBQ party, catered by Harvey's Smokehouse BBQ. Call 786-573-5300 or visit smdcac.org.

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