James "Superharp" Cotton's 1954 single "Cotton Crop Blues" was released in1954 and quickly became a classic illustration of how powerful an instrument the harmonica could be. Now more than four decades later, Cotton can still play the harp as if it were a bugle calling the troops to the dance floor. But his power now shares the stage with subtle shadings, making a listen to FIRE DOWN UNDER THE HILL a deeply satisfying experience. Cotton's blues harp does the singing, crying, and shouting on the instrumentals "Cotton Jump Boogie," "Lightning," and a ten-minute version of the title cut. Cotton does still sing though and his fragile, gravely voice is perfect for the loneliness in "Woman Wanted," the weariness of "Feel Like Going Home," and the abandonment of "Something to Remember You By." Cotton is accompanied by the lean clean guitarist Rico McFarland, the tastier-than-ever pianist David Maxwell, and vocalist Darrell Nulisch, whose soulfulness and touch of vibrato give "That's Alright" and "Boot Knockin' Boogie" the authenticity of '60s Chicago blues. Completely acoustic, FIRE DOWN UNDER THE HILL is every bit as good as Cotton's Grammy-winning DEEP IN THE BLUES.