Blues Legend David “Honey Boy” Edwards Dies at 96

Edwards’ manager says he was “the last direct link to the first generation of Mississippi blues musicians.”

Posted: 08/30/2011 02:49 PM EDT
Filed Under Music

Grammy-winning blues legend David “Honey Boy” Edwards died Monday in Chicago at the age of 96.


Edwards had a storied career as a musician and performed regularly up until his health declined in May. His hit songs include “Long Tall Woman Blues,” “Gamblin Man” and “Just Like Jesse James.”


Edwards was born in 1915 in Shaw, Miss. and began his professional career in Memphis at the age of 17. He then moved to Chicago in the 1940's, where he made a permanent home and quickly became a legendary figure, playing with almost every popular blues musician of the time by the 1950's. In 2008 Edwards won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album, and was also the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2010.


“Blues ain’t never going anywhere,” Edwards told the Associated Press in 2008. “It can get slow, but it ain’t going nowhere. You play a 'lowdown dirty shame, slow and lonesome, my mama dead, my papa across the sea, I ain’t dead but I’m just supposed to be' blues. You can take that same blues, make it uptempo, a shuffle blues, that’s what rock 'n' roll did with it. So blues ain’t going nowhere. Ain’t goin’ nowhere.”


Edwards’ manager Michael Frank told the Associated Press about Edwards' storytelling talents, saying that Edwards would often share biographical stories between songs at his shows, and that his death represents the loss of the last direct link to the first generation of Mississippi blues musicians.


Edwards was recorded for the Library of Congress in Clarksdale, Miss. in 1942, and his stories were published in the 1997 book “The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards.”

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

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