Farewell to a Roamer and Rambler: Honeyboy Edwards

Blog: 08.30.11

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 12:43 PM

Delta blues legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards passed away at his home in Chicago yesterday at the age of 96. 

A singer and guitarist known for his complex fingerpicking style and his bottleneck-slide guitar work, Edwards played with everyone from country bluesman Big Joe Williams to "the King of the Delta Blues," Robert Johnson. 

Edwards was born in rural Mississippi and was a contemporary of Muddy Waters.  He became popular in the blues revival of the 1960s, and went on to be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996. He released Roamin' and Ramblin', his last album, in 2008.

But before he was a famous blues singer and guitarist, Edwards was a different kind of iconic American figure: a boxcar hobo. "Sometimes you had to ride the rods under the train," he told Studio 360's Gianluca Tramontana, who visited Edwards at his South Side Chicago home.  Edwards also told the story of learning to gamble with loaded dice from a one-eyed hustler. 

During those roamin' and ramblin' years, Edwards made ends meet playing music. "I got all broke," he remembered, "and went down to the club down there, and started playing my harp and guitar. ... And I played the blues and people would chuck me quarters." 

Listen to the full story here:

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