David "Honeyboy" Edwards 1915-2011
Sadly, we report that our friend David "Honeyboy" Edwards died Monday morning, Aug. 29th. He was 96.
Honeyboy was a true blues legend and was the last performing bluesman of a generation that was among the first to record blues music.
Our own APO Records recorded Honeyboy in what was one of the very first sessions at our Blue Heaven Studios. The resulting disc - Shake 'Em On Down - is one of our proudest documentations of what pure, undiluted, raw blues is. In fact, artists like Honeyboy are the real premise behind the creation of APO and Blue Heaven. Honeyboy performed at our very first Blues Masters at the Crossroads concerts in 1998 and again at the 12th annual in 2009. Once again, it's him and those very few like him that serve as the epitome of what we're trying to showcase each October with the Blues Masters shows.
With the passing earlier this year of Pinetop Perkins, the sting of Honeyboy's death is especially profound as it concerns our loss of living blues history. Honeyboy and Pinetop were the end of the road as it concerns bluesmen with links to the origins of recordings. They're among the last with ties to sharecropping, who picked cotton, who hoboed trains - the last to live a life reminiscent of many of the themes we so strongly associate with classic blues.
Edwards was born June 28, 1915 in Shaw,
Mississippi. Of his
earliest musical inspiration, Edwards says in his autobiography
Don't Owe Me Nothing, "it was in '29 when Tommy Johnson come
Crystal Springs, Mississippi. He was just a little guy, tan
easy-going; but he drank a whole lot. At nighttime, we'd go
Tommy Johnson play. Listening to Tommy, that's when I really
about how to play guitar."
Edwards' life has been intertwined with almost every major blues legend, including Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Big Joe Williams, Rice "Sonny Boy Williamson" Miller, Howlin' Wolf, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Walter, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters and on and on.
In 1942, Alan Lomax recorded Edwards in Clarksdale, Mississippi, for the Library of Congress. He recorded 15 sides of Edwards' music. Edwards didn't record again commercially until 1951, when he cut "Who May Your Regular Be" for Arc Records. He also recorded "Build A Cave" as "Mr. Honey" for Artist.
Moving to Chicago in the early '50s, Edwards played small clubs and street corners with Floyd Jones, Johnny Temple and Kansas City Red. In '53, he recorded several songs for Chess that remained un-issued until "Drop Down Mama" was included in an anthology release.
Edwards began an association with Earwig Records in 1979 when he and his friends Sunnyland Slim, Kansas City Red, Floyd Jones and Big Walter Horton recorded Old Friends for the label. Earwig also released Edwards' Library of Congress performances along with more recent recordings as part of Delta Bluesman in 1992.
Visitation will be Thursday September 1 from
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, with
an open mic for comments by his friends and fans from 7:00 to
at the funeral home. Services will be private on Friday
McCullough Funeral & Cremation Services
851 E. 75th St.
Chicago, IL 60619
Phone: (773) 488-8900