Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Mon, 06.28.1915

HoneyBoy Edwards, Delta Musician born

David HoneyBoy Edwards

*David 'HoneyBoy' Edwards was born on this date in 1915. He was a Black blues musician.

From Shaw, Mississippi, Edwards was 14 years old when he left home to travel with bluesman Big Joe Williams, beginning his life as an itinerant musician he led throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He also played with his friend, blues musician Robert Johnson.  HoneyBoy was present on the night Johnson drank poisoned whiskey, which killed him, and his story has become the definitive version of Johnson's demise.  Edwards knew and played with many other leading bluesmen in the Mississippi Delta: Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, and Johnny Shines.

He was a part of many of the seminal moments of the blues.  As HoneyBoy wrote in "The World Don't Own Me Nothing," " was in '29 when Tommy Johnson come down from Crystal Springs, Mississippi. He was just a little guy, tan-colored, easy-going, but he drank a whole lot. At nighttime, we'd go there and listen to Tommy Johnson play." HoneyBoy continues, " Listening to Tommy, that's when I really learned something about how to play guitar."

Honeyboy's life was intertwined with "Sonny Boy Williamson" Miller, Howlin' Wolf, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Walter, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters, and more.  In 1942, Alan Lomax recorded HoneyBoy in Clarksdale, Mississippi, comprising fifteen sides of his music for the Library of Congress.  HoneyBoy didn't record again commercially until 1951, with "Who May Your Regular Be" for Arc Records. HoneyBoy also cut "Build A Cave" as 'Mr. Honey for Artist. Moving to Chicago in the early fifties, HoneyBoy played small clubs and street corners with Floyd Jones, Johnny Temple, and Kansas City Red.

In 1953, Honeyboy recorded several songs for Chess that remained un-issued until "Drop Down Mama" was included in an anthology release.  In 1972, HoneyBoy met Michael Frank, and in 1976, they hit the North Side Blues scene as The HoneyBoy Edwards Blues Band, performing as a duo on occasion. Michael founded Earwig Records, and in 1979 HoneyBoy and his friends Sunnyland Slim, Kansas City Red, Floyd Jones, and Big Walter Horton recorded "Old Friends."  HoneyBoy's early Library of Congress performances and more recent recordings were combined on "Delta Bluesman," released by Earwig in 1992.  HoneyBoy wrote several blues hits, including "Long Tall Woman Blues," "Gamblin Man," and "Just Like Jesse James." On the Earwig Music label, his release, Roamin and Ramblin, featured HoneyBoy's old school guitar and vocals - fresh takes on old gems and first-time release of historical recordings.

In 2007, he released sessions with harmonica greats Bobby Rush, Billy Branch, and Johnny "Yard Dog" Jones, previously unreleased 1975 studio recordings of HoneyBoy and Big Walter Horton, and circa 1976 concert tracks -- solo and with Sugar Blue. Michael Frank, Paul Kaye, Rick Sherry, and Kenny Smith also play on the album on various tracks. HoneyBoy and Bobby Rush also tell some short blues tales. HoneyBoy Edwards won a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Blues Album, and in 2010 won another Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.

David HoneyBoy Edwards died on August 29, 2011, at his home in Chicago, Illinois. HoneyBoy was one of the last living links to Robert Johnson and one of the last original acoustic Delta blues players.

To Become a Musician or Singer


David HoneyBoy


All Media Guide
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 USA

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

I do not want to stand Beside you at the feast; You eat of rot. Or walk Beside you; your pace is not my pace. To follow You or be... MY OWN HALLELUJAHS by Zack Gilbert.
Read More