David “Honeyboy” Edwards 1915 – 2011

by J-Stacknik

The Honey Boy Edwards Fund for the Blues has been established within the National Blues Museum in St. Louis MO. The purpose of the fund is to acknowledge the contributions of other elders of the blues by providing scholarships to blues workshops, internships, camps and other events teaching blues history, musicianship, and the business of sustaining a career in the blues business.

If you are a blues fan, specifically Delta blues then you probably know who David Honeyboy Edwards was. Edwards was believed to be the oldest surviving member of the first generation of Delta blues singers. His 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. He died peacefully at his home of congestive heart failure on August 29, 2011 at the age of 96.

Over an eight decade long career Edwards played with almost every musician in the Delta blues genre. Artist like Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He was probably best known as the last living link to Robert Johnson, who is hailed as the King of Delta Blues. The two musicians 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” Edwards said in an interview.

David Edwards was born June 28, 1915, in Shaw Mississippi. His parents gave him the nickname Honey, which later became Honeyboy. His parents were both musicians and his father bought him his first guitar and taught him to play traditional folk ballads. His first exposure to the blues came when he met celebrated blues musician Tommy Johnson.

After spending two decades travelling and playing across the country Edwards made his permanent home in Chicago in the 1950s. Here he played in clubs and at the open-air market on Maxwell Street. Edwards achieved new popularity during the blues revival of the 1960s. In 1996 he was elected to the Blues Hall of Fame. He was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment of the Arts in 2002. In 2007 he appeared as himself in the movie “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”

David Edwards won a Grammy in 2008 for the album “Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesman: Live in Dallas” and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2010. He continued to play over 100 shows a year until he stopped touring in 2008 and continued to play occasionally until this year. His last appearance was at a blues festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi in April 2011.

Read more:

David “Honeyboy” Edwards

David Honeyboy Edwards, Delta Bluesman, Dies at 96

David Honeyboy Edwards – performs Gamblin Man – youtube video

 

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