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David "Honeyboy" Edwards

Saturday, September 13, at B.B.'s Lawnside Bar-B-Que.

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David "Honeyboy" Edwards is to Greenwood, Mississippi, what Claude "Fiddler" Williams is to Kansas City -- that rare musician officially recognized as a national treasure. Born in 1915, Edwards was first recorded in the field by musicologist Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1942, but he'd already had a long career by then, having played with legends such as Big Joe Williams, Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson. (Edwards was hanging out with Johnson on the night he was poisoned at the Three Forks bar in Greenwood.) By the end of World War II, he'd made the move from Mississippi and started playing in Chicago, melding his distinct guitar sound with Little Walter's harmonica. His career, like so many in the blues generations since, has slowed a few times, but Edwards has dedicated himself to keeping the very first Delta songs and traditions alive. When he bites into a tune like Patton's "Pony Blues" or Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" with his deceptively simple guitar style and seen-it-all voice, the whole blues tradition suddenly becomes bigger and infinitely more alive.

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