CHICAGO (AP) – Grammy-winning Blues musician David “Honey Boy” Edwards, believed to be the oldest surviving Delta bluesman and whose roots stretched back to blues legend Robert Johnson, died this week in his Chicago home, his manager said. He was 96. Edwards had a weak heart and his health seriously declined in May, when the guitarist had to cancel concerts scheduled through November, said his longtime manager, Michael Frank of Earwig Music Company.
Born in 1915 in Shaw, Miss., Edwards learned the guitar growing up and started playing professionally at age 17 in Memphis. He came to Chicago in the 1940s and played on Maxwell Street, small clubs and street corners. By the 1950s Edwards had played with almost every bluesman of note – including Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Charlie Patton and Muddy Waters. Among Edwards’ hit songs were “Long Tall Woman Blues,” “Gamblin Man” and “Just Like Jesse James.”
Edwards won a 2008 Grammy for traditional blues album and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2010. His death represents the loss of the last direct link to the first generation of Mississippi blues musicians.
Edwards was known for being an oral historian of the music genre. He gathered his stories in the 1997 book The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards.