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Ida Cox Vol. 5 (1939-1940)

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Album Review

Other than an album from 1961, this CD has blues singer Ida Cox's final recordings. The first seven selections (which include a previously unreleased "One Hour Mama") has four additional alternate takes. Cox is heard in 1939 backed by an accurately-titled "all-star band" that consists of trumpeter Hot Lips Page, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, clarinetist Edmond Hall, either James P. Johnson or Fletcher Henderson on piano, guitarist Charlie Christian, bassist Artie Bernstein and Lionel Hampton on drums. Although her prime was considered the 1920s, Ida Cox on "Death Letter Blues" and "Four Day Creep" still sounds pretty strong. The remainder of this CD is taken from a 1940 session with trumpeter Red Allen, Higginbotham, Hall, pianist Cliff Jackson, bassist Billy Taylor, and drummer Jimmy Hoskins that resulted in four titles and four alternate takes; only two performances were released previously, but Cox's singing is excellent. It is a pity that because musical styles had changed, Ida Cox was largely forgotten during this period.


Born: 25 February 1896 in Toccoa, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the finest classic blues singers of the 1920s, Ida Cox was singing in theaters by the time she was 14. She recorded regularly during 1923-1929 (her "Wild Woman Don't Have the Blues" and "Death Letter Blues" are her best-known songs). Although she was off-record during much of the 1930s, Cox was able to continue working and in 1939 she sang at Cafe Society, appeared at John Hammond's Spirituals to Swing concert, and made some new records. Cox toured with shows until a 1944 stroke pushed her...
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Ida Cox Vol. 5 (1939-1940), Ida Cox
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