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I Can't Quit My Man

Ida Cox

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Album Review

Affinity's "I Can't Quit My Man" presents 11 master takes and eight alternates from two sessions' worth of swing-infused blues sung by Ida Cox a good ten years after her initial period of recording activity. Tracks one through seven were recorded for the Vocalion label on October 31, 1939, with the ensemble billed as her All-Star Band. The lineup certainly was impressive, with trumpeter Hot Lips Page, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, and clarinetist Edmond Hall in front of pianist James P. Johnson, electrically amplified guitarist Charlie Christian, bassist Artie Bernstein, and drummer Lionel Hampton. Tracks 8-11 were recorded for Okeh on December 20, 1940, under the heading of Ida Cox & Her All-Star Orchestra, a sextet combining Hall and Higginbotham with trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen and a rhythm section of Cliff Jackson, Billy Taylor, and Jimmy Hoskins. For both of these sessions the singer revisited her earlier repertoire, tapping into material written by herself, in collaboration with Jesse Crump, who served as her pianist during the late '20s, and by Porter Grainger. "You Got to Swing and Sway," on the other hand, was clearly composed for the 1940 date, and reflects a popular musical trend of its time. While this woman's early works deserve careful investigation by anyone interested in the interwoven root system of classic blues and jazz, the recordings on this collection might well constitute the ideal introduction to her artistry, for these were among of the best performances she ever gave in a recording studio.


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...
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I Can't Quit My Man, Ida Cox
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