Goodson was born in Pensacola, Florida, the youngest of seven sisters, six of whom survived to adulthood. Her father and mother both played the piano. Her father was a deacon at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.
All of the daughters in her family received musical training, with the sole intention that they would perform in church. Goodson noted that the blues were banned in her house. However, Ida and her sisters Mabel, Della, Sadie, Edna, and Wilhemina (better known as Billie Pierce) all subsequently had careers in blues or jazz. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band often had one of the Goodson sisters playing keyboards. Ida played the piano accompanying silent films and at dances.
A 2002 stage show, The Goodson Sisters: Pensacola's Greatest Gift to Jazz, focused on Ida, Wilhemia, and Sadie. The PBS video Wild Women Don't Have the Blues includes rare footage of Bessie Smith and Ida, her one-time accompanist. The music journalist Chris Heim wrote in the Chicago Tribune that "sprightly blues and gospel performer Ida Goodson--the scene stealer of the film--gives a stunning exhibition of the intimate connection between gospel and blues when she takes the song "Precious Lord" from a rich, slow gospel opening to a rollicking boogie-woogie conclusion."
In her senior years, Goodson played the organ at several churches in Pensacola. The album Ida Goodson: Pensacola Piano--Florida Gulf Blues, Jazz, and Gospel was released by the Florida Folklife Program.