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Coco Montoya

Though he grew up as a drummer and was raised on rock & roll, Coco Montoya became an outstanding blues guitarist after stints in the bands of Albert Collins and John Mayall. Montoya debuted as a leader in 1995 with the Blind Pig album Gotta Mind to Travel and garnered an award for Best New Blues Artist at the following year's W.C. Handy Awards ceremonies. Born in Santa Monica, Montoya played drums for a local rock band that toured the region during the mid-'70s, playing in area clubs. Although he had recently been turned on to blues at an Albert King show, he was somewhat unprepared to sit in with another blues legend -- "the Iceman" Albert Collins -- when a bar-owner friend of Montoya invited the bluesman to play at his nightclub. Though his inexperience showed, the young drummer impressed Collins enough to hire him for a Pacific Northwest tour three months later. The tour soon ended, but the pair's affiliation remained for more than five years, while Montoya learned much about the handling of blues guitar from "the Master of the Telecaster." By the early '80s, Coco Montoya was back in the small-time nightclub business, playing guitar with several regional bands. At one night's show, he realized that John Mayall was in the audience, so he dedicated a cover of "All Your Love" to the British blues maestro. The song prompted Mayall to hire Montoya as lead guitarist for a new version of the Bluesbreakers he had formed. Despite the enormous pressure of filling a spot once held by Eric Clapton and Peter Green, Montoya jumped at the opportunity. His first album with the Bluesbreakers came in 1985. Mayall had not released an album in five years at that point and the Bluesbreakers had been dead for more than 15, but the live album Behind the Iron Curtain proved Mayall's viability thanks mostly to the fiery work of Montoya. The guitarist appeared on three studio albums with Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, but then struck out on his own by the mid-'90s. Signed to Blind Pig, Montoya released Gotta Mind to Travel in 1995 with help from Mayall and another former Bluesbreaker compatriot, rhythm guitarist Debbie Davies. After years of toil under Collins and Mayall, Montoya was finally in the spotlight and his award as Best New Blues Artist of 1996 proved quite ironic, given his years of experience. His second album, Ya Think I'd Know Better, was followed by 1997's Just Let Go. At that point, Montoya and Blind Pig parted company and he signed with Alligator Records. Suspicion was released in 2000, followed two years later by Can't Look Back and by Dirty Deal in 2007. All three discs incorporated a definitive soul/R&B approach. I Want It All Back, produced by Keb' Mo' and Jeff Paris, appeared in 2010. The independent blues label Ruf Records released I Want It All Back, and they followed up with a live album, Songs from the Road, in 2014. Montoya and Alligator Records partnered again to release 2017's Hard Truth. ~ John Bush & Al Campbell
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Stations Featuring
Coco Montoya

    Modern Blues

    Modern Blues
    5 songs

    Electric Blues

    Electric Blues
    5 songs

Albums by
Coco Montoya

Top Songs by
Coco Montoya

  1.   Song
  2.   Fear No Evil
  3.   Seven Desires
  4.   Too Much Water
  5.   Coin Operated Love
  6.   Love Gotcha
  7.   Last Dirty Deal
  8.   You Don't Love Me
  9.   Big Boy Pete
  10.   Am I Losing You
  11.   Too Much of a Good Thing
  12.   You'd Think I'd Know Better by Now
  13.   Never Seen You Cry This Way Before
  14.   Dyin' Flu
  15.   Hard Love
  16.   What's Done Is Done
  17.   Beginner at the Blues
  18.   The Heart of Soul
  19.   I Want It All Back
  20.   Hey Senorita
  21.   Forever
  22.   Don't Go Makin' Plans
  23.   As Close as I Have Come
  24.   Fool
  25.   Top of the Hill
  26.   Mother and Daughter
  27.   Can't Get My Ass in Gear
  28.   Do What You Want to Do
  29.   She's Gonna Need Somebody
  30.   Give It to a Good Man
  31.   Life of My Broken Heart
  32.   Get You Business Straight
  33.   Same Dog
  34.   It's All Your Fault
  35.   Hiding Place
  36.   Get Your Business Straight
  37.   Somebody's Baby
  38.   One Who Really Loves You
  39.   Fannie Mae
  40.   Clean Slate
  41.   Holding Out for You
  42.   No Longer a Part of Your Dreams
  43.   Can't Look Back
  44.   Can't See the Streets for My Tears
  45.   I Won't Beg
  46.   Something About You
  47.   Running Away from Love
  48.   Wish I Could Be That Strong
  49.   Nothing But Love
  50.   Good Days, Bad Days
  51.   I Need Your Love in My Life
  52.   Enough Is Enough
  53.   Love Jail
  54.   Cool Like Dat
  55.   My Side of the Fence
  56.   A Fool in Love
  57.   Tumbleweed
  58.   It Takes Time
  59.   Just Let Go
  60.   I Got a Mind To Travel
  61.   Monkey See, Monkey Do
  62.   How Do You Sleep at Night?
  63.   Nothin' in the Streets
  64.   Someday After Awhile
  65.   Beyond the Blues
  66.   Women Have a Way with a Fool
  67.   Back in a Cadillac
  68.   Talkin' Woman Blues
  69.   Trip, Stumble and Fall
  70.   Trading One Fool for Another
  71.   Gotta Mind to Travel
  72.   Nothing's Too Good for My Baby
  73.   Free
  74.   Sending Me Angels
  75.   Ain't No Brakeman
  76.   Casting My Spell
  77.   Put the Shoe on the Other Foot
  78.   Same Old Thing
  79.   You Didn't Think About That
  80.   A Bluesman's Christmas
  81.   Cry Lonely
  82.   What I Know Now
  83.   Don't Take It Personally
  84.   It's My Own Tears
  85.   Three Sides to Every Story

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