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Mike Cooper


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Reading, Berkshire, UK (1942 – present)

Mike Cooper is a British guitar player, singer and songwriter. Born in 1942 in Reading, Berkshire, UK, Cooper started playing guitar shortly after leaving school in 1958. In 1962, as a singer and harmonica player, he co-founded an R&B band The Blues Committee, with guitarist Paul Manning, guitarist Dicky Reeves and drummer Eddie Page. They played alongside many visiting American blues players in their home town: John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Howling Wolf and others as well as British r&b and blues bands such as Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.

At the same time Cooper was playing and singing folk and country blues as a solo artist in local folk clubs. In 1966, together with singer/guitarist Derek Hall, they recorded their first record, a 7inch four track independent release, titled “Out Of The Shades”. The title referred to the coffee house where Cooper and Hall played regularly during that period.

From the mid until the late sixties Cooper was one of the handful of players who pioneered the acoustic British blues Boom, playing with and alongside other British players such as Jo Ann Kelly, Dave Kelly, Tony McPhee and Ian A. Anderson and others, as well as with visiting blues legends such as Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Bukka White. His 1969 l.p. “Oh Really!?” on Pye Records is widely acclaimed as one of the best acoustic blues albums of the period.

In the early 1970s, working with producer Peter Eden for Pye/Dawn Records, he recorded four solo albums which chronicle, through his own songwriting, a fascinating shift from pure blues through to free jazz.


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