Elizabeth Cotten

Profile:
Elizabeth Cotten was a self-taught blues and folk musician, singer and songwriter.
born January 5, 1893 in Carrboro, North Carolina
died June 29, 1987 in Syracuse, New York (Aged 94)

She developed her own style of playing left-handed by holding a normally tuned guitar upside down so she played the melodies with her thumb and the bass lines with her fingers. Her style of playing became known as "Cotten picking".

Cotten wrote most of her music in her early teens and earlier (she wrote "Freight Train" at age 13). After marrying at 17 and getting work as a maid she stopped playing music for 40 years. It wasn't until she was working as a maid for Charles Seeger, an avid music lover, that she taught how to play the guitar.

In the 1950s Mike Seeger began to record Cotten on reel to reel tape. In 1960 she began to play live for the first time, her first show was with Mike Seeger and she went on to perform with musicians such as Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and many others. Because of the positive reaction Cotten received, she began to write again and with her new material and her standards she continued to tour and record into the 1980s. In 1984 she won the Grammy "Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording" for the album Elizabeth Cotten - Live!.
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Artist

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Albums

FG 3526 Folksongs And Instrumentals With Guitar — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Folksongs And Instrumentals With Guitar (Album) Folkways Records FG 3526 US 1958 Sell This Version
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FTS 31003 Vol. 2: Shake Sugaree — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Vol. 2: Shake Sugaree (Album) Folkways Records FTS 31003 US 1967 Sell This Version
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INT 170.600 At The New Morning Blues Festival (Live In Geneva 79) — Elizabeth Cotten Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Albert Collins, Queen Ida, Elizabeth Cotten Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Albert Collins, Queen Ida, Elizabeth Cotten - At The New Morning Blues Festival (Live In Geneva 79) (Album) Cat Music (2) INT 170.600 Germany 1979 Sell This Version
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FA 3537 Volume 3: When I'm Gone — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Volume 3: When I'm Gone (Album) Folkways Records FA 3537 US 1979 Sell This Version
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1089 Live! — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Live! (Album) Arhoolie Records 1089 US 1983 Sell This Version
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FF090 20th Anniversary Concert — Elizabeth Cotten The New Lost City Ramblers With Special Guests Highwood String Band*, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Cotten The New Lost City Ramblers With Special Guests Highwood String Band*, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Cotten - 20th Anniversary Concert(LP) Flying Fish (2) FF090 US Unknown Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

KBOO 001, KBOO-01 KBOO Presents Elizabeth Cotten / Marisa Anderson — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten / Marisa Anderson Elizabeth Cotten / Marisa Anderson - KBOO Presents Elizabeth Cotten / Marisa Anderson(7") KBOO, KBOO KBOO 001, KBOO-01 US 2013 Sell This Version
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Compilations

SFW CD 40147 Shake Sugaree — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Shake Sugaree(CD, Comp) Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW CD 40147 2004 Sell This Version
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Videos

Ramblin' 804 Elizabeth Cotton & Mike Seeger In Concert — Elizabeth Cotten Mike Seeger, Elizabeth Cotton* Mike Seeger, Elizabeth Cotton* - Elizabeth Cotton & Mike Seeger In Concert(VHS, NTSC) Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop Ramblin' 804 US 1991 Sell This Version
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503 Masters Of The Country Blues — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten And Jesse Fuller Elizabeth Cotten And Jesse Fuller - Masters Of The Country Blues Yazoo 503 US 1992 Sell This Version
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GW 819 The Guitar Of Elizabeth Cotten Taught By John MIller — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten / John Miller Elizabeth Cotten / John Miller - The Guitar Of Elizabeth Cotten Taught By John MIller(DVD) Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop GW 819 US 2002 Sell This Version
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Vestapol 13019 Elizabeth Cotten In Concert 1969, 1978 & 1980 — Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten In Concert 1969, 1978 & 1980(DVD-V) Vestapol Productions Vestapol 13019 US 2004 Sell This Version
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610 Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest — Elizabeth Cotten Judy Collins / Elizabeth Cotten With Rosa Valentin & Rafael Martinez Judy Collins / Elizabeth Cotten With Rosa Valentin & Rafael Martinez - Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest(DVD-V) Shanachie 610 US 2005 Sell This Version