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

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