Often called “The last of the great Delta Bluesmen” David “Honeyboy” Edwards has finally taken his journey to “Blues Heaven” at the age of 96 years old. He was a running partner of the legendary Robert Johnson, and it’s been told that Honeyboy even knocked a bottle of open whiskey out of Johnson’s hand the night of his poisoning at a Delta jook joint, after telling him not to drink from a unsealed bottle. (It seems Mr Johnson had been fooling around with the club owners woman-and he knew it, and was going to pay Johnson back for this…). He was a gentle soul, who would gladly speak to anyone, and had been performing steady until April of this year, when ill health had finally slowed him down enough for him not to be able to perform publicly.
The following was taken from Bob Corritore’s e-mail: August 29, 2011
RIP Honeyboy Edwards – June 28, 1915 to August 29, 2011. The legendary Delta blues artist Honeyboy Edwards passed away peacefully at his Chicago home at 3am this morning. He was 96. Honeyboy had formally retired earlier this year, due to a weakened state of health that did not allow him to tour. He is well known as a pioneer of Delta Blues, who made pre-WWII recordings. Honeyboy was a close associate of Robert Johnson, and the man who traveled from the south to bring Little Walter to Chicago for the first time. Born in Shaw, Mississippi in 1915, Honeyboy left home at age 14 to travel and perform with Big Joe Williams, which became the early model of his life’s activities. Honeyboy’s wonderful recording career started in 1942 when famed folklorist Alan Lomax recorded him in Clarksdale Mississippi for the Library of Congress. His prolific recording career boasts of releases for many labels over many years; ARC, Sun Records, Chess, Folkways, Trix, Testament, Evidence, Roots, Blue Suit, Blue Horizon, Genes, Blue Shoe, APO, Wolf, and of course the Earwig Record Label. He has received 2 Grammy Awards, 2 BMAs (Blues Music Awards), has been inducted in the Blues Hall Of Fame, received a fellowship from The National Endowment for the Arts, and won a KBA (Keeping The Blues Alive Award) in the literature category for his brilliant biography The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing. His performances and recollections have provided us a window into the past. One must mention Honeyboy’s long association with Earwig Music label chief Michael Frank. The two met in 1972 and Michael would grow into the role of Honeyboy’s manager, harmonica player, and traveling companion. Michael has done so much to guide Honeyboy’s career, and we pray for his strength during this time of grieving. Visitation will be 2 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 1, at the McCullough Funeral Home, 851 E. 75th Street, Chicago, IL 60619. There will be an open mike between 7 and 9pm for remembrances from friends and fans. A friends-and-fans gathering will begin at 8 p.m. at Lee’s Unleaded Blues, 7401 S. Chicago Ave. Services will be private on Friday. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the National Blues Museum. Honeyboy’s charm, wit and musical brilliance will leave a gap in the blues, never to be filled. The deep blues emotion that poured out of Honeyboy Edwards in each performance has left a lasting impression on the blues world. Thank you Honeyboy for the blessing of knowing you.
To hear Honeyboy Edwards 1942 Library of Congress recording of “Spread My Raincoat Down” click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fATSQa-0iII
To hear Honeyboy’s 1951 recording of “Who May Your Regular Be” click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDhHexniKWs&playnext=1&list=PLD9FD48CC027445C6
To hear Honeyboy’s 1951 recording of “Build A Cave click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVr_ZlqfQvo
To see Honeyboy in the 2004 documentary film,Lightnin’ In A Bottle, click here
To see a photo page that we put together to honor Honeyboy Edwards, click http://www.bobcorritore.com/photos101.html