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Ida Cox

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Ida Cox (February 25, 1896 – November 10, 1967) was an African American singer and vaudeville performer, best known for her blues performances and recordings. She was billed as “The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues”.

Cox was born in February, 1896 as Ida Prather in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia, United States (Toccoa was in Habersham County, not yet Stephens County at the time), the daughter of Lamax and Susie (Knight) Prather, and grew up in Cedartown, Georgia, singing in the local African Methodist Church choir. She left home to tour with traveling minstrel shows, often appearing in blackface into the 1910s; she married fellow minstrel performer Adler Cox.
By 1920, she was appearing as a headline act at the 81 Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia; another headliner at that time was Jelly Roll Morton.
After the success of Mamie Smith’s pioneering 1920 recording of “Crazy Blues”, record labels realized there was a demand for recordings of race music. The classic female blues era had begun, and would extend through the 1920s. From 1923 through to 1929, Cox made numerous recordings for Paramount Records, and headlined touring companies, sometimes billed as the “Sepia Mae West”, continuing into the 1930s. During the 1920s, she also managed Ida Cox and Her Raisin’ Cain Company, her own vaudeville troupe. At some point in her career, she played alongside Ibrahim Khalil, a Native American and one of the several jazz musicians of that era who belonged from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
In the early 1930s “Baby Earl Palmer” entered show business as a tap dancer in Cox’s Darktown Scandals Review.

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