Ivory Joe Hunter-The Cold Grey Light of Dawn
I kind of rediscovered this track whilst sifting through some mp3s on my PC. Ivory Joe Hunter (his real name) came from a musical family in Kirbyville Texas and became a talented pianist in his early teens. He recorded for Alan Lomax in 1933 before getting involved in Texas radio in the 1940s. He became a member of Johnny Moore’s Blazers and started a prolific songwriting career when his “blues at sunrise” (issued on his own Ivory Records) became a local hit. He also started Pacific Records before becoming one of the early 1950’s most prolific R&B stars (mostly for MGM Records) and it is for these recordings that he is best known. He moved to Atlantic Records in 1954 having already notched up at least 100 recorded sides. Hunter had a very smooth almost crooning vocal style, which had country overtones at times and he seemed to be popular with country and western fans. Ivory Joe was invited to Graceland by Elvis in 1957 where the pair spent the day singing “I almost lost my mind”, Elvis would record Hunters “My Wish Came True” and “Ain’t That Loving You, Baby” later in his career.
Hunter’s popularity as an artist faded at the end of the 1950’s but he continued writing songs, he wrote in the region of 7000 songs in the course of his career.
In the late 60’s Ivory Joe made a come back as a country artist (appearing on the Grand Ole Opry) and releasing a couple of albums. Which brings me nicely back to the track that I have become obsessed with of late, the self penned “Cold Grey Light of Dawn” a real forgotten classic. It has been covered by Nick Lowe but his version pales in comparison to this.
Ivory Joe died from lung cancer in 1974.