Chicago blues great ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards dies at 95


David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the last of the nascent Delta blues musicians, has died.

Mr. Edwards died of congestive heart failure early Monday morning in his Chicago apartment. He was 95 years old.

To have watched Mr. Edwards play was to have witnessed living history. He was born in Shaw, Miss., where his father was a guitarist and violinist in country jukes throughout Mississippi.


His father bought Mr. Edwards a Sears guitar for $4 from a plantation worker. At the age of 14, Mr. Edwards left home to travel with bluesman Big Joe Williams.

He settled in Chicago in 1953 after recording “Drop Down Mama” for the influential Chicago label Chess Records.

Edwards often would recall how he was in the house when the iconic bluesman Robert Johnson took his last drink of poisoned whiskey.

“He talked about it a lot,” said Michael Frank, Mr. Edwards’ longtime musical collaborator and manager. “But when he told it he always told it as if it were fresh. He was such a good storyteller, you wouldn’t know that if you heard it the first time.”

Mr. Edwards won a 2008 Grammy for best traditional blues album and last year was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.

Mr. Edwards was slated to perform at the free noontime concert Monday at Millennium Park. He last performed April 17 at the Juke Joint Festival and Cathead Mini-Festival in Clarksdale, Miss.

David "Honeyboy" Edwards' story



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