Ida Cox, Ida Cox Vol. 3 1925-1927

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Billed in her day as the Uncrowned Queen of the Blues, Cox is even more overlooked today than Carr. But among classic blues singers she was second only to Bessie Smith. (Carr actually adapted his breakthrough single from her "How Long Daddy, How Long.") She could belt and swing, but more often she delivered intimate, straightforward vocals that she colored effectively with moaning, groaning effects; combined with her risqué material, this earned her a second nickname as the Sepia Mae West. Her phrasing was equal parts blues and vaudeville. And she took no messaround from nobody: the Georgia woman, who owned and managed her own touring company, sang gleefully of monkey men (guys who were good for nothing but sex), boasted that she was a "One Hour Mama" and noted in her signature song that "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues." But she also gave listeners chills with "Death Letter Blues" and her repertoire of "graveyard songs."