Hot Club of Cowtown performs "Ida Red"

"Ida Red" is an American traditional song of unknown origins that was made famous in the upbeat 1938 version by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Wills' Ida Red served as the primary inspiration for Chuck Berry's first big hit Maybellene. It is chiefly identified by variations of the chorus:

Ida Red, Ida Red, I'm a plumb fool 'bout Ida Red.


Verses are unrelated, rather humorous, and free form, changing from performance to performance. Ida Red's identity is unknown, but is feminine in most uses.

The earliest recording is a one by Fiddlin' Powers & Family (Victor 19434, 1924), which includes vocals. There is also an early well-known instrumental by Dykes Magic City Trio, (Brunswick 125, 1927).

Like his father and grandfather, Wills, renowned in parts of Texas for his fiddling talents before he formed the Texas Playboys, would have learned this tune in his earliest days of fiddling.

Ida Red, the personage, appears in a number of other songs only distantly related to the song "Ida Red".

Bob Wills Ida Red Lyrics


Lights in the parlor fires in the grate

Clock on the mantle says its getting late

Curtains on the window snowy white

The parlors pleasant on Sunday night


Ida Red Ida Red 

I'm a plumb fool bout Ida Red


Lamp on the table picture on the wall

There's a pretty sofa and that's not all

If I’m not mistaken and I’m sure I’m right

There's somebody else in the parlor tonight


Chicken in the bread bin pecking out dough

Granny will ya dog bite no child no

Hurry up boys and don’t fool around 

Grab your partner and truck on down


Lights a burning dim fire’s a getting low

Somebody says its time to go

I hear the whisper gentle and light 

Don't forget to come next Sunday night


My old Missus swore to me

When she died shed set me free

She lived so long her head got bald 

She took a notion not to die at all 

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