Honeyboy Edwards Dies at 96. The blues will surely miss him.
David “Honeyboy” Edwards was possibly one of the last remaining living legends of the Delta Blues. He was an Ambassador – a man who fit in with dignity, who was practically and Emperor when it came to blues and the blues scene.
Honeyboy had just finished up his last performance – a nice one one done outside of the Cathead store in downtown Clarksdale, MS. He had announced he was going to stop touring because of his health. Of course, no one knew how bad it really was. Just a few short days after his announcement, Honeyboy died of congestive heart failure in his South Shore apartment at 96 years old. He will surely be missed.
This site, over they ears, has indeed had some differences with Honeyboy. Our research and evidence points to the fact that he may never have even known who Robert Johnson was, let alone have known him personally. It is quite possible this is a story Honeyboy came up with to help boost his credit on the blues scene. The funny thing is, Honeyboy didn’t need it – his music and personality spoke for itself.
He witnessed the great flood of the Mississippi River in 1927. In 1953, he moved to Chicago after recording “Drop Down Mama” for Chess Records. He won Grammys and had a cameo in the 2007 spoof movie “Walk Hard.” He played in D.C. at the Black Cat Nightclub the night before the presidential inauguration.
Any way you slice it, Honeyboy never needed Robert Johnson – he was the real deal all by himself. His music spoke volumes, and his performances were always full of soul. Even Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was a huge fan. He once dropped in – unannounced – to sit in with Honeyboy at the (now closed) Boxcar blues club near his home in Southport, CN.
Mr. Edwards was born in Shaw, MS. His father, a guitarist and violinist in country jukes throughout Mississippi, bought Honeyboy a Sears guitar for $4 from a plantation worker. At 14, Honeyboy left home to hobo with bluesman Big Joe Williams. Having to keep up with Williams’ 9 string guitar is a large contributing factor to Honeyboy’s style. In 1935, he would travel to Beale Street in Memphis to play there. He shortly returned home – to Greenwood, MS – after becoming homesick, where he began playing with harmonica player Big Walter Horton.
in 1997, Honeyboy penned an autobiography The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards (Chicago Review Press), and in 2002 he was subject of the Scott Taradash documentary “Honeyboy.” He was also featured in Martin Scorsese’s PBS series “The Blues.”
The truth of the matter is, Honeyboy Edwards was everything. A living legend; a friend; a mentor; a crowd pleaser. Above all, though, Honeyboy was the blues.
Rest in Peace Honeyboy – and give em hell in Heaven.