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RIP Honeyboy Edwards

| September 2, 2011 | 0 Comments

Bluesman DavidHoneyboyEdwards died last Monday aged 96, a dyed-in-the-wool Delta bluesman whose final decade would be his most prolific.

Edwards came up when blues was more a lifestyle than a commercial enterprise. When he was born in Shaw, Mississippi, the style had already navigated the South, but began to flourish when his generation — including friends Robert Johnson and Charley Patton — had some of their sides recorded. Almost as much as his music, Edwards’ contribution to the blues is The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’, his literary autobiography that details the transient life bluesmen had in his youth. He wouldn’t be properly recorded until folklorist Alan Lomax found him in the ’40s, and the ’50s folk revival would also collect some of his sides.

After infrequent sessions over the next four decades, his relationship with harpist Michael Franks would develop on Franks’ local label, Earwig. In the time since, he’d be awarded various recognitions including the National Endowment For The Arts, Living Blues and W.C. Handy Awards, and, ultimately in 2008, the Grammys. His Earwig family plans to host a tribute concert in October. Check back for details online, in File, and Sweet Home.

— Steve Forstneger

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