Along with Robert Junior Lockwood, Honeyboy Edwards is one of the last surviving members of the first rank of 1930s Delta bluesmen. He and Lockwood are the only musicians who can talk intimately about Johnson—his wanderings, his music and his last days of life.
But Edwards is more than a witness with a good memory. He recorded a series of impressive Library of Congress cuts for folklorist Allan Lomax during a trip through the Delta in 1942, the same trip that netted groundbreaking performances by Son House and Muddy Waters.
At the time of these recordings, Edwards was laboring in Chicago’s Great Society construction boom, separated from the music scene by realities such as changing tastes, family life and just plain bad luck. Big Joe Williams lured him out of obscurity and into a mobile recording studio set up in Chicago’s old Thunderbird Motel. This priceless analog treasure, the rumored "lost rediscovery tapes," has been remastered for digital audio.
Notables include "Bull Cow Blues #2," "Hot Springs (Arkansas) Blues," "Little Boy Blue," "B&O Blues" and "(Meet the) Mornin’ Train."
He can be erratic and his droning chords sometimes numb, but there is no more authentic purveyor of the music’s most basic roots.
P.O. Box 7688, Silver Springs, Md., 20907
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.