David “Honeyboy” Edwards
Born: June 28, 1915, Shaw, Mississippi
Died: August 29, 2011
Photo credit: Bill Steber – www.steberphoto.com
A guitarist and storyteller, Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards’ long career spanned the evolution of the blues from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. Along the way, he traveled and performed with a Who’s Who of the blues including Tommy Johnson, Charlie Patton, Son House, Big Joe Williams, and the legendary King of the Delta Blues Singers, Robert Johnson. He grew up picking cotton and corn on plantations in the Mississippi Delta. He learned to play the guitar from Tommy Johnson, a pioneering bluesman. A restless youth, Edwards left home and traveled widely across the south riding the rails. In 1942, folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Edwards in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Edwards recorded again in 1951 for the ARC and Artist record labels. In the early 1950s, Edwards moved to Chicago. He worked as a day laborer and machinist, and at night he played on the street and in clubs with Kansas City Red and other rising blues artists. He recorded for Chess Records, but those recordings were unissued until one track “Drop Down Mama” was included in an anthology of the same title in 1970. Honeyboy met Michael Frank in 1972. Frank began managing Edwards and accompanying him on tours around the world. Edwards recorded a number of critically acclaimed recordings for Frank’s Earwig record label. With Frank’s help, Edwards wrote his autobiography, The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing. Edwards received numerous awards and accolades during his later years, and he continued recording and touring until his death.