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June 1998

David Honeyboy Edwards
The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing

During his 65-year career, Edwards (who turns 83 this summer), seems to have met nearly every bluesman of note and has a story to go with each one. He was one of the first of his generation to come up behind such prototypical Delta bluesmen as Charlie Patton and Tommy Johnson, both of whom inspired him when he saw them play in the streets and at plantations. At 17 Edwards teamed up with Big Joe Williams who showed him how to hustle as they hoboed around the South. It was just this nomadic life which kept him from recording until 1951.

Reading his engrossing story is like sitting next to Edwards as he recalls hanging out in Memphis with Big Walter Horton (“the best”) or reveals how he got by (“I had three ways of making it: the women, my guitar and the [loaded] dice.”). His down-home expressions pack a lot of wallop as when he tells why he dodged marriage for so many years, (“I didn’t want to get hooked up to a plow to feed a woman”), or how “Blues...is a leading thing, something on your mind that keeps you moving.” His low-key account of playing with Robert Johnson (“hit[ting] a few chords behind him”) is typical of this modest, talented musician. Warmly recommended.

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