August 29, 2011

Grammy-winning blues guitarist 'Honey Boy' Edwards dead at 96; had ties to Robert Johnson (Associated Press, August 29, 2011)

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.


MORE:
'Honeyboy,' A Living Link To The Birth Of The Blues (All Things Considered, 7/09/08, NPR)





Posted by at August 29, 2011 9:23 PM
  

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