David “Honeyboy” Edwards is one of the last of the original Delta Bluesmen, who traveled the South as hobos in the 1930s and who shaped early folk music into what later generations turned into rock ‘n’ roll. Still actively touring worldwide, he is in demand today both for his sharp memory as a purveyor of the oral history of the blues and for his music, performing at festivals, colleges, blues clubs and special events. Also, he is the only artist included in “A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings” who is still performing.
Honeyboy Edwards was born in the Mississippi Delta in 1915. The son of a sharecropper, Edwards quickly learned that the sharecropping life was not for him. After meeting delta bluesman Big Joe Williams, he left home in Shaw, Mississippi when he was a teenager, and traveled the south by hopping the freight trains of blues lore – the Pea Vine, the Southern, the Yellow Dog. He worked with Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Tommy McClennan, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), Howlin’ Wolf, and countless others while honing his musical skills on the dusty street corners of small towns and in the good-timing houses and juke joints of bigger towns like New Orleans.
Not long after recording with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1942, Honeyboy connected with teenage blues harmonica player Little Walter Jacobs, and headed up to Chicago, where he frequented the city’s famous Maxwell Street Market. After a short stint there he moved on to Texas, where he recorded as “Mr. Honey” for the Artist Recording Company, accompanied by pianist Thunder Smith of Lightnin’ Hopkins fame. He then recorded for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in Memphis before being called on by Chicago’s Chess Records, and finally making Chicago his home.
In Chicago he quickly became known as one of the city’s finest slide guitarists, frequently playing local clubs, juke joints, and the Maxwell Street Market. He also dedicated himself to his family, which included not only his wife Bessie and his growing family of children, but also his sisters and in-laws, who were leaving the South for the better opportunities Chicago presented.
In the 1960s his recording career accelerated once again, with recordings on the Milestone, Adelphi, and Blue Horizons labels. In the late 60s, the original Fleetwood Mac (featuring Peter Green) came to town and asked Honeyboy to appear as a guest on two albums they recorded in Chicago.
In recent years Honeyboy has done everything but slow down. He continues to record, including three albums on Chicago’s Earwig Music label, and several guest/featured spots with other artists. Honeyboy’s autobiography, “The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing,” was released in 1995 to large critical acclaim. He continues to tour internationally, with recent tours in Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Macedonia, Turkey, Brazil, and Western Europe.
He is consistently called upon to do interviews in television, radio, and print media worldwide, and has recently been honored with such awards as the W.C. Handy Lifetime Achievement Award, The Chicago Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Academy of Recordings Arts and Sciences (NARAS – Grammy’s) Lifetime Achievement Award.
“On songs like ‘Big Fat Mama’ he shows that you don’t always need a band to move people’s feet.” –Rolling Stone
“…he evokes the smoldering intensity and elusive spiritual brilliance of the fabled Delta tradition as well as anyone alive, and better than most.” –Living Blues
¬On Honeyboy’s Autobiography, “Magnificent! I’ve been waiting for this book since I was a kid.” –Taj Mahal
"This is a wonderful record... The first 14 cuts are from 1942 Library of Congress recordings... Edwards' playing is as Delta blues as it gets... Edwards worked with (Big Joe Williams and) other Delta greats such as Tommy McClennan, Charley Patton... Big Walter Horton, Robert Johnson, and Little Walter. His playing shows influences from all these men... There are seven songs on the CD recorded in 1991 with Carey Bell, Sunnyland Slim, Aron Burton, and Robert Plunkett, that show Edwards can still lay down some mean blues... If you have any interest in Mississippi blues, you've got to have this album." -Living Blues
"...One is left with the feeling of the natural blues from way back from one of the last living masters... Interspersed with vocal reminiscences of a rich and celebrated life, this is one of the traditional blues treasures of the year." -Beach News, Encinitas, California