- Just Like Jesse James
- Sweet Home Chicago
- Sad and Lonesome
- Blues Like Showers of Rain
- Long Tall Woman Blues
- Don’t Say I Don’t Love You
- Don’t You Lie to Me
- Who May Your Regular Be
- I’ve Been Around
- Crawling Kingsnake
- White Windows
- Back To The Roots
- Delta Bluesman
- The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’
- The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’
by Timothy Davis (SHS)
David “Honeyboy” Edwards is one of the few remaining original practitioners of the acoustic Delta blues style (Santelli 135). As a guitarist and country blues singer, David “Honeyboy” Edwards has been playing” traditional and unadulterated Mississippi Delta blues” since he left his home in Shaw, Mississippi, at the age of fourteen. “Though Edwards took up electric blues in the 1960’s and has since worked on occasion with a band, he still performs authentic solo acoustic country blues and is living testament of the music’s vitality” (Santelli 135). The New York Times calls Edwards one of “the last authentic performers in blues idiom that developed in central Mississippi during the second and third decades of the century,” and Rolling Stone is saying ” …he shows that you don’t always need a band to move people’s feet (www.mudcat.com).”
David “Honeyboy” Edwards was born June 28, 1915, in Shaw, Mississippi. There he taught himself how to play the guitar by listening to area blues men like Tommy McClennan and Robert Petway. By the age of fourteen, he was playing Delta juke joints and picnics with Big Joe Williams (Santelli 135). After learning the ropes during the years with Williams, he went out on his own and made associations with some of his contemporaries, the bluesmen of the South during the 1930’s and 1940’s. He played with people like McClennan, Robert Johnson, Big Walter Horton, and Yank Rachell, and he traveled all over the South with them (Santelli 135).
Folklorist Alan Lomax caught Honeyboy on tape while doing field recording for the Library of Congress in 1942 (www.blue heaven.com). The session had to be halted at one point because of a powerful storm that blackened the delta sky and soaked the parched land (www.blue heaven.com). In all, fifteen sides of Honeyboy’s singing were recorded by Lomax. Edwards didn’t record commercially until he got to Houston in 1951 and cut Who May Your Regular Be for Arc Records (www.blue heaven.com). Then Honeyboy recorded his hit song, Drop Down Mama, in 1953.
Although he made few recordings during his traveling years, David “Honeyboy” Edwards eventually settled in Chicago in the mid-50’s and has made a number of fine traditional recordings with various labels (www.Blues University: David “Honeyboy” Edwards.com). He also played small clubs and streetcorners with artists such as Johnny Temple, Floyd Jones, and Kansas City Red. In the mid-’60s he resumed his recording career with the Adelphi/Blue Horizon label and began to play some festivals. He toured Europe and Japan mainly during the 70s and 80s and performed at the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife, the Chicago Blues Festival, and the San Francisco Blues Festival (Santelli 135). He currently records for the Chicago-based Earwig label. In 1992, they released his album, Delta Bluesman (Santelli 136). This work includes Honeyboy’s original Library of Congress recordings and his songs of the 1940’s (Santelli 136). Honeyboy still performs widely despite his age of 84. In 1998 he published his autobiography, The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’ and has an album with the same name.
He was awarded the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in February 2010 at the age of 94 1/2. He died at age 96.
- 1932 – Traveled a year with Big Joe Williams when he was just seventeen.
- 1942 – Folklorist Alan Lomax caught Honeyboy on tape while doing field recording for the Library of Congress.
- 1951 – Honeyboy started recording commercially in Houston, Texas for Arc Records.
- 1953 – Performed a fine slide guitar performance on Drop Down Mama.
- 1954 – Honeyboy settled in Chicago.
- 1960’s – 1970’s – Honeyboy played small streetcorners and clubs with some famous bluesmen. He had a new release with Big Walter Horton and guitarist Eddie Ell in the early 70’s.
- 1988 White Windows released
- 1992–Delta Bluesman produced.
- 1995–I’ve Been Around
- 1997–World Don’t Owe Me Nothing album released
- 1997-Crawling Kingsnake
- 1998 – Honeyboy’s autobiography, The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’ was published.
- 1999–Don’t Mistreat A Fool
- 2000–Shake ‘Em on Down originally released.
- 2001–Mississippi Delta Bluesman
- 2003–I’ve Been Around (enhanced)
- 2010–Receives Mississippi Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2011 — Honeyboy Edwards passed
- Honeyboy’s official site gives lots of info about him.
- Photo of Honeyboy and Mark Hoffman, 1996.
- Mississippi Blues Trail: Honeyboy Edwards
- David Honeyboy Edwards, Delta Bluesman, Dies at 96. The New York Times, Aug 29, 2011
- Honeyboy Edwards: Mississippi Delta Bluesman. Smithsonian Folkways.
- “Blue Heaven: David Honeyboy Edwards.” [online] Available http://www.musicblvd.com, April 4, 1999.
- “Blues University: David Honeyboy Edwards.” [online] Available http”//www.bluesu.com/BluesU_Honeyboy_Edwards.html, April 4, 1999.
- Cox, James L. David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Mississippi Almanac 97-98 : The Ultimate Reference on the State. Yazoo City, MS : Computer Search and Research, 1997. 124.
- Santelli, Robert. David “Honeyboy” Edwards. The Big Book of Blues. New York, New York; Penguin Books, 1993.135-136.