Ida Cox: The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues

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Ida Cox (nee Prather, born this day in 1896) was a premiere exponent of the classic blues style, and a star of black vaudeville. A native Georgian, she started out in all-black minstrel troupes, which is where she met and married Adler Cox. From here she broke into vaudeville, at one point even managing her own traveling outfit, Ida Cox and Her Raisin’ Cain Company. Her recording career began in 1923, which is when she adopted the billing “The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues”.  (At certain times, she was also known as “The Sepia Mae West“). Her career lasted much longer than other stars of the classic blues style such as Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith and Ma Rainey, extending into the early 1940s. She retired in 1945 following a stroke. She made one last comeback recording in 1961, and finally passed away in 1967.

Here she is performing the “Four Day Creep”

To find out more about the history of vaudeville, please consult my critically acclaimed book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other fine establishments.

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