Honeyboy Edwards

Mississippi Delta Bluesman

Smithsonian Folkways

It would appear that David “Honeyboy” Edwards is the Zelig of the Mississippi Delta—he and Sonny Boy Williamson were partying with Robert Johnson the night Old Scratch called in that infamous crossroads debt; there, he also played with Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson and Big Joe Williams. Later, after following the Mississippi north to Chicago, he jammed with Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers and Magic Sam. This 1979 recording, by Folkways founder Moses Asch, features Edwards on vocals and acoustic guitar. Edwards’ ring-shouting tenor is a bit short of exceptional; under that voice he walks his guitar’s bass strings to provide definition. But on his turnarounds and solos, he animates these elastic 12-bar blues with playing that’s fine and loose. Anal types may think his fingerwork is sloppy, but those who prize spontaneous explosions of undisciplined motion will derive spiritual sustenance from this disc.