David "Honeyboy" Edwards was a Delta blues guitarist and singer from the American South. He was also the last of the original Delta bluesmen and now a documentary that looks at the history of the blues through his eyes will soon be released on DVD. Watch the trailer below.
'Honeyboy and the History of the Blues' looks at the career of the bluesman, who passed away in Chicago on August 29, 2011 at the age of 96.
The film features interviews with Keith Richards, Joe Perry, Robert Cray, B.B. King and Lucinda Williams talking about the importance of the blues, both on their own work and the history of American popular music. Edwards is also seen performing, in clubs, in a rural setting, and along the Chicago lakefront.
Called "The Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen," Edwards friends included greats, such as Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. He appeared in the 1991 film, 'The Search for Robert Johnson,' and over the years frequently told the story of how he was present the night in 1938 when Johnson was fatally poisoned by a jealous husband.
'Honeyboy' described his life:
On Saturday, somebody like me or Robert Johnson would go into one of these little towns, play for nickels and dimes. And sometimes, you know, you could be playin' and have such a big crowd that it would block the whole street. Then the police would come around, and then I'd go to another town and where I could play at. But most of the time, they would let you play. Then sometimes the man who owned a country store would give us something like a couple of dollars to play on a Saturday afternoon. We could hitchhike, transfer from truck to truck, or if we couldn't catch one of them, we'd go to the train yard, 'cause the railroad was all through that part of the country then...we might hop a freight, go to St. Louis or Chicago. Or we might hear about where a job was paying off - a highway crew, a railroad job, a levee camp there along the river, or some place in the country where a lot of people were workin' on a farm. You could go there and play and everybody would hand you some money. I didn't have a special place then. Anywhere was home. Where I do good, I stay. When it gets bad and dull, I'm gone.
Edwards moved to Chicago in the 1950s and continued to perform and record up until only a few months before his passing. Edwards won a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Blues Album, and in 2010 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. His autobiography, 'The World Don't Owe Me Nothing,' was published in 1997. Edwards continued the rambling life he describes in his autobiography as he still toured the world well into his 90s.