Ida Cox Day

February 25, 1896 – November 10, 1967

 

A tribute to the classic blues singer

Ida Prather (“Ida Cox”) was born on February 25, 1896 in Toccoa, Georgia.

She sang in a local choir as a child and ran away from home when she was 14 to tour with White and Clark’s Black & Tan Minstrels in 1910, gradually becoming a major attraction.

Cox (whose marriage to trumpeter Adler Cox ended when he died in World War I.), gained experience performing blues, comedy and in minstrel shows on the black vaudeville circuit including with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels.

By 1920, Ida Cox was a major name, headlining theater shows and exclusively singing the blues.

She moved to Chicago in 1922 and recorded 80 songs during 1923-29 including such numbers as “I’ve Got The Blues For Rampart Street,” “Graveyard Dream Blues,” “Death Letter Blues” and her famous composition “Wild Woman Don’t Have The Blues.”

Cox stopped recording after 1929 but continued working during the 1930s, mostly in the South.

She made a comeback after appearing at John Hammond’s Spirituals To Swing concert in December 1938, recording in 1939-40 and playing at Café Society.

Her career ended after she suffered a heart attack in 1945 but in 1961 she came out of retirement to record a full album with backing by Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge, showing that she was still one of the top blues singers.

Here is Ida Cox in one of her only film appearances, singing “Four Day Creep” while backed by her third husband, pianist Jesse “Tiny” Crump.

-Scott Yanow