Honeyboy Edwards was born in the Mississippi Delta in 1915. The son of a sharecropper, Edwards quickly learned that the sharecropping life was not for him. After meeting delta bluesman Big Joe Williams, he left home in Shaw, Mississippi when he was a teenager, and traveled the south by hopping the freight trains of blues lore â€“ the Pea Vine, the Southern, the Yellow Dog. He worked with Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Tommy McClennan, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), Howlinâ€™ Wolf, and countless others while honing his musical skills on the dusty street corners of small towns and in the good-timing houses and juke joints of bigger towns like New Orleans.
Not long after recording with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1942, Honeyboy connected with teenage blues harmonica player Little Walter Jacobs, and headed up to Chicago, where he frequented the cityâ€™s famous Maxwell Street Market. After a short stint there he moved on to Texas, where he recorded as â€œMr. Honeyâ€ for the Artist Recording Company, accompanied by pianist Thunder Smith of Lightninâ€™ Hopkins fame. He then recorded for Sam Phillipsâ€™ Sun Records in Memphis before being called on by Chicagoâ€™s Chess Records, and finally making Chicago his home.
In Chicago he quickly became known as one of the cityâ€™s finest slide guitarists, frequently playing local clubs, juke joints, and the Maxwell Street Market. He also dedicated himself to his family, which included not only his wife Bessie and his growing family of children, but also his sisters and in-laws, who were leaving the South for the better opportunities Chicago presented.
In the 1960s his recording career accelerated once again, with recordings on the Milestone, Adelphi, and Blue Horizons labels. In the late 60s, the original Fleetwood Mac (featuring Peter Green) came to town and asked Honeyboy to appear as a guest on two albums they recorded in Chicago.
In recent years Honeyboy has done everything but slow down. He continues to record, including three albums on Chicagoâ€™s Earwig Music label, and several guest/featured spots with other artists. Honeyboyâ€™s autobiography, â€œThe World Donâ€™t Owe Me Nothing,â€ was released in 1995 to large critical acclaim. He continues to tour internationally, with recent tours in Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Macedonia, Turkey, Brazil, and Western Europe.
He is consistently called upon to do interviews in television, radio, and print media worldwide, and has recently been honored with such awards as the W.C. Handy Lifetime Achievement Award, The Chicago Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Academy of Recordings Arts and Sciences (NARAS â€“ Grammyâ€™s) Lifetime Achievement Award.
â€œOn songs like â€˜Big Fat Mamaâ€™ he shows that you donâ€™t always need a band to move peopleâ€™s feet.â€ â€“Rolling Stone
â€œâ€¦he evokes the smoldering intensity and elusive spiritual brilliance of the fabled Delta tradition as well as anyone alive, and better than most.â€ â€“Living Blues
Â¬On Honeyboyâ€™s Autobiography, â€œMagnificent! Iâ€™ve been waiting for this book since I was a kid.â€ â€“Taj Mahal
"This is a wonderful record... The first 14 cuts are from 1942 Library of Congress recordings... Edwards' playing is as Delta blues as it gets... Edwards worked with (Big Joe Williams and) other Delta greats such as Tommy McClennan, Charley Patton... Big Walter Horton, Robert Johnson, and Little Walter. His playing shows influences from all these men... There are seven songs on the CD recorded in 1991 with Carey Bell, Sunnyland Slim, Aron Burton, and Robert Plunkett, that show Edwards can still lay down some mean blues... If you have any interest in Mississippi blues, you've got to have this album." -Living Blues
"...One is left with the feeling of the natural blues from way back from one of the last living masters... Interspersed with vocal reminiscences of a rich and celebrated life, this is one of the traditional blues treasures of the year." -Beach News, Encinitas, California
Check out the artist's website:
1. Alan Lomax introduces David Edwards
2. Roamin' and Ramblin' Blues
3. I'm from the Library of Congress
4. You Got to Roll (Acapella)
5. You Got to Roll (Levee Camp Song)
6. Water Coast Blues
8. Just a Spoonful
9. Spread My Raincoat Down
10. Hellatakin' Blues
11. Wind Howlin' Blues
12. Worried Life Blues
13. Tear it Down Rag
14. The Army Blues
15. They called it Big Kate
16. Big Katie Allen
17. Black Cat
18. I met Peetie Wheatstraw in '39
19. Number 12 at the Station
20. When I came to Memphis
21. Rocks in My Pillow
22. We used to sing that when I was a kid
23. Decoration Day
24. Who May Your Regular Be
25. I studied up that song myself
26. Eyes Full of Tears
27. Bad Whiskey and Cocaine