Delta Blues Great David "Honeyboy" Edwards Passes Away at 96

One of the last of the bluesmen whose roots go back to the early-20th century has passed away. David "Honeyboy" Edwards died today (Monday) about 3 A.M. in his home at the age of 96.

Edwards stayed active musically until this past April when he fell ill, with shows still scheduled in Chicago and Europe. His last appearance was April 16 and 17 at the Juke Joint Festival and Cathead Mini-Festival in Clarksdale, MS.

While his recording career didn't gain steam until later in his life, he spent decades working with some of the greats. His childhood friends in Mississippi included Tommy McClennan and Robert Petway and he got his first break when Big Joe Williams took him on the road. During the time, he also got to know Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson and was present the night that Johnson allegedly drank the poisoned whiskey that killed him.

His first know recordings were done in the field when Alan Lomax came to Clarksdale in 1942. It would be nine years before Edwards officially entered a studio when he cut Build a Cave for the Artist Record Co. as Mr. Honey. He also recorded four sides for Chess in 1953 that never saw the light of day until a blues compilation in 1970.

In the early-70's, Edwards and harp player Michael Frank became friends, playing together on occasion and eventually forming the Honeyboy Edwards Blues Band. Later in the decade, Frank started the Earwig label whose second release was Old Friends (1979), featuring Edwards, Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones and Kansas City Red.

Over the next three decades, Edwards made a name for himself with a series of releases including White Windows (1988), Don't Mistreat a Fool (1999) and Mississippi Delta Bluesman (2001). He won a Grammy in 2007 for the album Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas with Robert Lockwood, Jr., Pinetop Perkins and Henry James Townsend.

Edwards wrote about his early career in the 1997 memoir The World Don't Owe Me Nothin'. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996, won Blues Music Awards in 2005 and 2007 and won the Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy in 2010.

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