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Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP (1915-2011)

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GUEST,Mary Katherine 29 Aug 11 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Mary Katherine 29 Aug 11 - 08:57 PM
Bobert 29 Aug 11 - 09:03 PM
Elmore 29 Aug 11 - 09:07 PM
Wesley S 29 Aug 11 - 10:19 PM
catspaw49 29 Aug 11 - 10:22 PM
Art Thieme 29 Aug 11 - 10:52 PM
fat B****rd 30 Aug 11 - 03:16 AM
Fred McCormick 30 Aug 11 - 04:44 AM
gnu 30 Aug 11 - 02:13 PM
Dave Sutherland 30 Aug 11 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,josepp 30 Aug 11 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,sixtieschick 30 Aug 11 - 08:13 PM
Desert Dancer 30 Aug 11 - 08:25 PM
Bobert 30 Aug 11 - 08:33 PM
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Subject: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 8/29/11
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 08:54 PM

Last of the original generation of bluesmen is now gone. Died early this morning, just a bit shy of his 96th birthday.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 8/29/11
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 08:57 PM

Couldn't make a link work - here's the AP story:

Associated Press
Bluesman David 'Honey Boy' Edwards dead at 96
By CARYN ROUSSEAU , 08.29.11, 08:31 PM EDT

CHICAGO -- Grammy-winning Blues musician David "Honey Boy" Edwards, believed to be the oldest surviving Delta bluesman and whose roots stretched back to blues legend Robert Johnson, died early Monday in his Chicago home, his manager said. He was 96.

Edwards had a weak heart and his health seriously declined in May, when the guitarist had to cancel concerts scheduled through November, said his longtime manager, Michael Frank of Earwig Music Company.
Article Controls

Born in 1915 in Shaw, Miss., Edwards learned the guitar growing up and started playing professionally at age 17 in Memphis.

He came to Chicago in the 1940s and played on Maxwell Street, small clubs and street corners. By the 1950s Edwards had played with almost every bluesman of note - including Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Charlie Patton and Muddy Waters. Among Edwards' hit songs were "Long Tall Woman Blues," "Gamblin Man" and "Just Like Jesse James."

Edwards played his last shows in April at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss., Frank said.

"Blues ain't never going anywhere," Edwards told The Associated Press in 2008. "It can get slow, but it ain't going nowhere. You play a lowdown dirty shame slow and lonesome, my mama dead, my papa across the sea I ain't dead but I'm just supposed to be blues. You can take that same blues, make it uptempo, a shuffle blues, that's what rock `n' roll did with it. So blues ain't going nowhere. Ain't goin' nowhere."

Edwards won a 2008 Grammy for traditional blues album and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2010. His death represents the loss of the last direct link to the first generation of Mississippi blues musicians, Frank said.

"That piece of the history from that generation, people have to read about it from now on," Frank said. "They won't be able to experience the way the early guys played it, except from somebody who's learned it off of a record."

Edwards was known for being an oral historian of the music genre and would tell biographical stories between songs at his shows, Frank said. He was recorded for the Library of Congress in Clarksdale, Miss., in 1942.

"He had photographic memory of every fine detail of his entire life," Frank said. "All the way up until he died. He had so much history that so many other musicians didn't have and he was able to tell it."

Edwards gathered those stories in the 1997 book "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards." He wrote in the book that his father bought a guitar for $8 from a sharecropper and Edwards learned to play in 1929.

"I watched my daddy play that guitar, and whenever I could I would pick it up and strum on it," Edwards wrote.

Edwards was known for his far-ranging travels and played internationally. In his 90s, he was still playing about 70 shows a year. Edwards would visit with the audience after every show, taking pictures, signing autographs and talking with fans, Frank said.

Edwards earned his nickname "Honey Boy" from his sister, who told his mother to "look at honey boy" when Edwards stumbled as he learned to walk as a toddler. He is survived by his daughter Betty Washington and stepdaughter Dolly McGinister.

"He had his own unique style," Frank said. "But it was a 75-year-old style and it was a synthesis of the people before him and in his time."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 8/29/11
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 09:03 PM

What a bummer... Yeah, I know we have been lucky to have him so long but, geeze...

Sniff...

Love ya', man...

B~


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 8/29/11
From: Elmore
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 09:07 PM

Sorry he passed.Glad I got to see him a couple of years ago.He did a fine performance and spent a lot of time talking with those who came up to congratulate him after the show.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Wesley S
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 10:19 PM

I guess we need to be grateful for the time he was here.

Thanks Honeyboy...


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 10:22 PM

Bummer.........RIP Honeyboy and thanks!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 10:52 PM

I think he was with Robert Johnson at the party where he was poisoned by a jealous girlfriend. And he was with him when he died I seem to recall. That is how Mike Bloomfield told it around 1961 or 62,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: fat B****rd
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 03:16 AM

What else can I say ? All of the above. RIP Mr. Edwards


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:44 AM

Well he had damned good innings and brought a lot of music to a lot of people. The last time I saw him he was on tour with Homesick James, both of them well into their eighties, and they blew the place apart.

Like Old Honeyboy used to say, "The world don't owe me nothing".


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: gnu
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 02:13 PM

96... "... his health seriously declined in May, when the guitarist had to cancel concerts scheduled through November..."

That's a looooong run. Good on ya. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 02:35 PM

Very sorry to hear this although, as others have said, he had a great innings. He played quite a few Midlands dates during the nineties when he would tour over here with Dave Peabody and I saw him in both Nottingham and Derby. A great performer and I have him on a Folkways album somewhere at home.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David ' Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:42 PM

The last of the greats are dying and leaving us stuck with unbearable mediocrity making millions selling unbearing mediocrity to millions and millions of the unbearably mediocre.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: GUEST,sixtieschick
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 08:13 PM

I had the good fortune to see him twice last year. I remember him saying "there's nothing wrong with me except for my knees," after he hobbled onto the stage of a small club. If only that had been true. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 08:25 PM

Bluesman 'Honeyboy' Edwards Has Died

by Elizabeth Blair
National Public Radio
30 August 2011

David "Honeyboy" Edwards, considered to be the last of a generation of musicians who brought music from the rural Mississippi Delta to the rest of America, died at his home in Chicago early Monday morning. He was 96 years old.

Honeyboy Edwards was born in 1915. He grew up in segregated Mississippi during Jim Crow. Though his dad was a share-cropper, the young Edwards did not work in the fields.

He figured out he could make more money by playing music on the weekends. But back then a black man would be thrown in jail if he was caught not working during the day. In 2008, Honeyboy Edwards told NPR's Andrea Seabrook that he just didn't go out until evening.

"I didn't come out until 5 or 6 o'clock in the evening," he said. "Sleep all day, sleep and cook and eat, stay in the house. That sun is hot, anyway. It ain't right out there."

Edwards left the hot son and tried to make a living on the road. He was a teenager when he learned from, and played with, older musicians like Son House and Robert Johnson who've since become legends.

Music critic and journalist Tom Piazza (his recent book Devil Sent the Rain is about the music and writing made in hard times) says Johnson and Son House were the pioneers of the Delta blues, a style that influenced everyone from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan.


"The Delta blues is some of the strongest and most concentrated blues that you can find, and life in the Mississippi delta during the time that musical form was coming up was about as tough as you could get," Piazza says. "And Honeyboy Edwards was probably the last living link we had to that era."

Edwards made his first recording in 1942 when musicologist Alan Lomax went to Clarksdale, Miss., and recorded him for the Library of Congress. He made a few commercial recordings in the '50s but mostly he made a living playing in small clubs in Chicago, where he eventually settled.

In his memoir The World Don't Owe Me Nothing, Edwards wrote that he'd been "hustling all his life," and by the '60s he was tired. So he got jobs working construction to support his family. He got back into music in the '70s when he met musician Michael Frank, who recorded Edwards.

Edwards always liked the raw simplicity of country blues. When he was 92 years old he told Dan Bindert of WBEZ in Chicago less is more.

"You don't have to play a whole lot of guitar to be a good blues player. Some people plays too much guitar," Edwards said. "Stack it on top of each other the way it don't — you're working too fast. Blues not supposed to be played fast. Blues supposed to be played slow."

"You could kill a man," said Honeyboy Edwards, with just one chord.

---

Audio links available at the story page. More in the audio than the text, as usual.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 08:33 PM

Well, we're running out of these guys but...

...went to see T Model Ford last month and he's still playing real well...

B~


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 11:46 PM

David Honeyboy Edwards, Delta Bluesman, Dies at 96

By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN
New York Times
August 29, 2011

David Honeyboy Edwards, believed to have been the oldest surviving member of the first generation of Delta blues singers, died on Monday at his home in Chicago. He was 96.

His death was announced by his manager, Michael Frank.

Mr. Edwards's career spanned nearly the entire recorded history of the blues, from its early years in the Mississippi Delta to its migration to the nightclubs of Chicago and its emergence as an international phenomenon.

Over eight decades Mr. Edwards knew or played with virtually every major figure who worked in the idiom, including Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. He was probably best known, though, as the last living link to Robert Johnson, widely hailed as the King of the Delta Blues. The two traveled together, performing on street corners and at picnics, dances and fish fries during the 1930s.

"We would walk through the country with our guitars on our shoulders, stop at people's houses, play a little music, walk on," Mr. Edwards said in an interview with the blues historian Robert Palmer, recalling his peripatetic years with Johnson. "We could hitchhike, transfer from truck to truck, or, if we couldn't catch one of them, we'd go to the train yard, 'cause the railroad was all through that part of the country then." He added, "Man, we played for a lot of peoples."

Mr. Edwards had earlier apprenticed with the country bluesman Big Joe Williams. Unlike Williams and many of his other peers, however, Mr. Edwards did not record commercially until after World War II. Field recordings he made for the Library of Congress under the supervision of the folklorist Alan Lomax in 1942 are the only documents of Mr. Edwards's music from his years in the Delta.

Citing the interplay between his coarse, keening vocals and his syncopated "talking" guitar on recordings like "Wind Howling Blues," many historians regard these performances as classic examples of the deep, down-home blues that shaped rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll.

Mr. Edwards was especially renowned for his intricate fingerpicking and his slashing bottleneck-slide guitar work. Though he played in much the same traditional style throughout his career, he also enjoyed the distinction of being one of the first Delta blues musicians to perform with a saxophonist and drummer.

David Edwards was born June 28, 1915, in Shaw, Miss., in the Delta region. His parents, who worked as sharecroppers, gave him the nickname Honey, which later became Honeyboy. His mother played the guitar; his father, a fiddler and guitarist, performed at local social events. Mr. Edwards's father bought him his first guitar and taught him to play traditional folk ballads.

His first real exposure to the blues came in 1929, when the celebrated country bluesman Tommy Johnson came to pick cotton at Wildwood Plantation, the farm near Greenwood where the Edwards family lived at the time.

"They'd pick cotton all through the day, and at night they'd sit around and play the guitars," Mr. Edwards recalled in his autobiography, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing" (Chicago Review Press, 1997). "Drinking that white whiskey, that moonshine, I'd just sit and look at them. I'd say, 'I wish I could play.' "

After spending the better part of two decades as an itinerant musician, Mr. Edwards made Chicago his permanent home in the 1950s. He performed frequently in its clubs and at the open-air market on Maxwell Street, but he recorded only sporadically during his first years there, notably for the independent Artist and Chess labels.

Mr. Edwards achieved new popularity during the blues revival of the 1960s. Near the end of the decade he appeared with Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy on sessions that produced both volumes of the album "Blues Jam in Chicago" by the British rock band Fleetwood Mac.

In 1972 Mr. Edwards met Mr. Frank, a blues aficionado and harmonica player, who would be his booking agent, manager and collaborator, on both stage and record, for the rest of his life.

Mr. Edwards was elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996 and named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. In 2007 he appeared as himself in the movie "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."

Survivors include a daughter, a stepdaughter and several grandchildren.

Mr. Edwards won a Grammy Award in 2008 for the album "Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas," a collaboration with Henry Townsend, Pinetop Perkins (who died in March) and Robert Lockwood Jr., and a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2010.

He was still playing as many as 100 shows a year when he stopped touring, in 2008, and he continued to perform occasionally until this year. His last appearance was at a blues festival in Clarksdale, Miss., in April.


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 11:48 PM

Honeyboy Edwards at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio (YouTube, video from Chicago Tribune, Feb. 2008)

"Grammy winner David "Honeyboy" Edwards plays the blues and talks about his life as an artist. Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Henry James Townsend, Robert Lockwood Jr. won "best traditional blues album" award for the CD "Last of the Great Delta Bluesmen" recorded and produced by Texas-based educational foundation The Blue Shoe Project."


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Subject: RE: Obit: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards RIP 29-Aug-2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 11:52 PM

Chicago bluesman 'Honeyboy' Edwards dead at 96

By Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune critic
August 29, 2011

He was the son of a sharecropper, the grandson of a slave and — for an extraordinary 80-plus years — the voice of the Delta blues.

David "Honeyboy" Edwards picked cotton and pulled corn on Mississippi Delta plantations from age 9, living the hard life that the blues were created to address. As a young man, he hoboed across the South with a guitar on his shoulder, rode the rails, got thrown in prison for vagrancy and various trumped-up charges and, along the way, made music with the founders of the art form: Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Son House, Tommy McLennan, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Joe Williams — virtually everyone, really.

Edwards died at about 3 a.m. Monday in his South Side home at age 96, said Michael Frank, his longtime manager.

Edwards' death effectively closes the book on a genre of music he represented in Chicago, where he was based since the 1950s, and around the world.

"Honeyboy — that's the end of the line," said veteran Chicago blues musician Billy Branch, who recorded and performed with Edwards. "He's the last of the bluesmen from his generation. He was that direct connection with the fabled Robert Johnson, and with (Edwards' death), it is the end of that particular style."

Said Bruce Iglauer, founder of the Chicago blues label Alligator Records, "Honeyboy was one of the very last links to the real world of the Delta blues, a crucial world in the development of American popular music. He was a truth teller.

"He understood that this music can't be separated from the culture in which he was born and grew up. It can't be separated from the reality of the racial situation in the South at that time, and what black people were and weren't allowed to do."

To listen to Edwards was to hear the field hollers and laments, the work songs and hymns of a black underclass and, equally important, to hear that music performed just as it was roughly a century ago. Edwards' soft-but-searing tenor and cut-to-the-bone guitar playing epitomized pre-pop, pre-rock, pre-recording-era Southern blues.

"I always considered him a walking jukebox of the blues from the '30s through the '50s — he just had so much music stored up in that memory of his," said manager Frank, who worked with Edwards for 39 years.

"To me, he was the living embodiment of the quintessential Mississippi bluesman of lore, but there's nothing fictitious about his life or music. It's the stuff of legend, only it's not legend. It's real."

Edwards told his remarkable story in snippets onstage, in anecdotes during uncounted interviews and in a 1997 memoir that has become a landmark of American musical history, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards." In it, Edwards detailed the brutality of life on the plantations around Shaw, Miss., where he was born June 28, 1915. He told of lynchings that dotted the landscape and of being picked up and sent to the penitentiary for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But he also spoke eloquently of how blues music gave outlet to the pain experienced by those who created it, heard it and needed it.

"You could play the blues like it was a lonesome thing — it was a feeling," he said in a 1998 Tribune interview. "The blues is nothing but a story. … The verses which are sung in the blues is a true story, what people are doing … what they all went through. It's not just a song, see?"

Edwards first picked up a Sears Roebuck guitar at age 12 and was working as a musician by 14. Though he collaborated prolifically with the first-generation creators of the music, he was perhaps most famous as one of the last musicians to visit Robert Johnson as the seminal bluesman lay dying near Greenwood, Miss., in 1938.

"I talked to him, but he wasn't able to talk," wrote Edwards in his memoirs. "He was bleeding at the mouth, heaving up and going on. There was nothing I could do for him. … Some people say that (his death) had something to do with Robert selling himself to the devil. … It may be."

Along with an entire generation of blues musicians and others during the Great Migration, Edwards traveled north to Chicago in the mid-1950s to get work. He toiled in factories as a machine operator and on construction sites on anything that was needed. At night, he played the blues.

He recorded for Chess Records, the primary Chicago label of the day, but he never attained a fraction of the fame of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon or his other blues contemporaries. Edwards blamed this partially on Chess, which he believed favored Waters over him, and partly on himself.

"Sometimes I hurt my chances," he wrote in his memoirs. "I was wild and crazy and wouldn't stay nowhere much. And sometimes I was just too hard-headed."

The rediscovery of the blues in the 1960s, in the wake of the British invasion, made Edwards a desired attraction on stages around the world, and he performed steadily — if not busily — nearly through the end of his life. He last performed April 17 in Clarksdale, Miss.

Edwards won a 2007 Grammy Award for "Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Blues Musicians: Live in Dallas" and a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

"He wasn't as influential as Robert Johnson and people like that, but if you look at his whole body of work, it was bigger and broader," Frank said. "He wasn't as influential because people weren't playing his songs as blues standards.

"But his technique was unique, which is something every musician strives for. … He worked at the highest level of musicianship."

And he told the story of the blues.

Survivors include a daughter, Betty Washington, and her children and grandchildren; a stepdaughter, Dolly McGinister; and nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at McCullough Funeral & Cremation Services, 851 E. 75th St. A "Friends and Fans Gathering" will follow at Lee's Unleaded Blues, 7401 S. South Chicago Ave., with doors opening at 8 p.m.


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