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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

Albums by
Coco Montoya

Top Songs by
Coco Montoya

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

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