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Bill Cox - JPop.com
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Bill Cox

Bill Cox

Bill Cox


William Jennings ‘‘Billy’’ Cox (August 4, 1897-December 10, 1968) was an American early country singer, harmonica player and guitarist. Ranked as one of West Virginia’s premier country music vocalists and songwriters during the 1930s. Born near Charleston, Cox learned to play guitar and harmonica in his youth and started performing on WOBU (later WCHS) radio in 1928. He recorded for Gennett, 1929–31, and from 1933 to 1940 for American Record Corporation, which later became Columbia. Read more on Last.fm
William Jennings ‘‘Billy’’ Cox (August 4, 1897-December 10, 1968) was an American early country singer, harmonica player and guitarist. Ranked as one of West Virginia’s premier country music vocalists and songwriters during the 1930s. Born near Charleston, Cox learned to play guitar and harmonica in his youth and started performing on WOBU (later WCHS) radio in 1928. He recorded for Gennett, 1929–31, and from 1933 to 1940 for American Record Corporation, which later became Columbia. From 1936, Cliff Hobbs (1916–61) of Cedar Grove sang harmony on Cox’s records, to provide the popular country duet sound.

Among his 150 recordings ‘‘Sparkling Brown Eyes’’ and ‘‘Filipino Baby’’ became country music standards. Several songs celebrating the New Deal have attracted scholarly attention. Cox, who became known as the ‘‘Dixie Songbird,’’ recorded versions of traditional British ballads, as well. A reckless lifestyle prevented Cox from realizing much benefit from his skills.

He died in poverty. Born William Jennings Cox at Eagle, West Virginia in 1897, Bill very soon learned to play the harmonica and later the guitar. From 1927 onwards Cox had a little daily show on Walter Fredericks' local radio station WOBU and so his Dixie Songbird's show quickly became quite popular. Fredericks also was the guy who convinced Cox in 1929 to finally go to Richmond, Indiana and cut some records to be played on the air when he would fail to appear the show. This was the beginning of Bill Cox's long-term recording career. After covering Jimmie Rodgers songs in the beginning, Cox increasingly developed his very own style performing a variety of older sentimental songs and original compositions, often including comical content from domestic everyday situations. In 1937 he recorded two songs that have become national country standards, "Filipino Baby" and "Sparkling Brown Eyes".

Although it is said that there was no doubt about Cox's authorship of "Filipino Baby", he ended up making very little from it. In 1965 an amateur folklorist found Cox living in poverty in a tiny shack in a slummy part of Charlston. He then received some financial aids and got to cut his last album before he died in December 1968. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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