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'Fore Day Creep

Ida Cox


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Ida Prather-Cox
(February 25th 1896 - November 10th 1967)


The great Ida Cox sings the blues from the Rose Room of Harlem's Appolo Theater in 1939, accompanied by her husband Jesse Crump on piano. After touring extensively together for years Ida Cox and her piano player Jesse Crump tied the knot during the late 1920's. After leaving Dallas (never to return) in 1919 Crump traveled all over the country, and on the T.O.B.A. circuit where he met Ida. He was to be the accomplished/composer responsible for many of her songs.

Ida Prather was born to sharecroppers in Toccoa, Georgia on February 25th 1896 and moved to Cedartown, Georgia when she was still very young. There she lived with her family and worked on the Riverside Plantation.

As a girl she became interested in Gospel music and joined the local African Methodist Choir.

At the age of fourteen Ida left home to tour playing a blackface pickaninny role with "White and Clark's Black & Tan Minstrels" and would later be featured on the T.O.B.A circuit.

In 1916 she was married to Adler Cox, a trumpeter with the "Florida Blossoms Minstrels", but their union was short lived ending abruptly with his untimely death in World War I.

Ida went on to work with a number of prominent traveling shows including the famous "Rabbit Foot Minstrels" based out of Port Gibson, Mississippi before taking a break from touring briefly in 1920 to headline with the great Jelly Roll Morton at the 81 Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cox was remarried during the early 1920's to Eugene Williams resulting in the birth of her daughter Helen.

A WMC Radio broadcast of her performance at the Beale Street Palace of Memphis, Tennessee, in March of 1922 would further heighten Ida's popularity and ultimately lead to a recording contract with Paramount.

Based out of Chicago billed as "The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues", Ida Cox recorded over seventy titles between September 1923 and October 1929 with top accompanists including Lovie Austin, Jimmy O'Bryant, and Tommy Ladnier.

Sometime during the late 1920's, Ida married her third husband pianist Jesse Crump and in 1929 the couple toured the U.S. with their own tent show revue, "Raisin’ Cain".

The show was such a success that year it became the very first production associated with the T.O.B.A. circuit to open at Harlem's famous Apollo Theater.

In 1935 "Cox & Crump" reorganized "Raisin’ Cain", renaming it the "Darktown Scandals" and toured the southern and Midwestern United States until 1939.

The year 1939 would prove to be an incredibly important one for Ida. That year she was invited to participate in John Hammond's historic Carnegie Hall concert series, "From Spirituals to Swing" where she sang "Fore Day Creep", backed by James P. Johnson, Lester Young, Buck Clayton and Dicky Wells.

After suffering a number of strokes Ida Cox finally succumbed to cancer at East Tennessee Baptist Hospital on November 10th 1967 at the age of seventy-one. She is laid to rest at Longview Cemetery, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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