Honeyboy Edwards, Acoustic Blues

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Honey Boy Edwards

By Jerry Loos

In the mid-upper 1990s (sometime between 1995-1997) I had the pleasure of meeting Honeyboy Edwards. Honeyboy is considered to be the oldest living historian of the blues. This was recently stated on a documentary about the blues that aired here in the United States on Public Broadcasting.

Honeyboy is now in his upper 80s, but was about 82 or 83 when we met. The Acoustic Blues Festival in Columbus, Ohio is where I met Honeyboy. A guitar student of mine (Rob Keelan) bought my wife Jeannie and I tickets to the festival. Honeyboy was escorted by a former guitar student of mine (Sean Carney) who was serving as President of the Columbus Blues Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes local and regional blues. Sean introduced me to Honeyboy, prior to his going on stage to perform. I was excited to talk to Honeyboy, and had been informed that he and Robert Johnson had played together.

Honeyboy is from the Mississippi Delta area. He had a quiet way about him, and a friendly smile. He told me that he got to know and play with Robert Johnson through a niece (I believe he said) of his, that Robert was fond of. You had to listen very closely when Honeyboy spoke in order to hear his words clearly.

I commented about how special it would have been to have known, and played with Robert Johnson. Honeyboy told me that Robert was a better player than he was. Honeyboy has a more raw sound to his playing, and singing, but very effective and authentic. He mentioned to me that the blues player's back then (approx. circa 1930s & on) played for women, and alcohol. Honeyboy probably made $400.00-$500.00 for the festival gig, which was much better than the previously mentioned method of payment.

When I asked what he had coming up next, Honeyboy told me he had a job in Chicago that he had to play the following night. It was remarkable that he was still performing concerts. At least now he has recognition for his contributions to the blues, and has been able to make some money in his older years.

Visit Jerry Loos's website: http://www.jerryloos.com

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