David "Honeyboy" Edwards lived to be nearly a hundred years old! The Delta bluesman was playing concerts right up until the day he died and I was fortunate enough to catch him with Corey Harris in Massachusetts many moons ago. Not only had he been a living, breathing representative of live old school Delta blues well into the new millennium, but he was doubly important to blues scholars as a man who could fill in some details on long-gone figures, such as his close friend Robert Johnson, whom he toured with and was present the night Johnson was poisoned. He also knew Charley Patton, Johnny Shines, Robert Petway, Pinetop Perkins and more.
Edwards grew up picking cotton but went on the road at 14 with Big Joe Williams and his career brought him trainhopping all over the place for the next few decades until he made formed a band in Chicago in the '70s. His limited recorded output to that point were some sides with Alan Lomax in '42 (issued on Folkways) and his first commercial record in '51 for the Arc label, four tunes for Chess in '53 and his first full-length LP in '78.
From then on he continued touring and making albums (including collaborations with Perkins, Sunnyland Slim, Kansas City Red, Michael Frank, Henry Townsend, Walter Horton and others). He composed the blues standard "Just Like Jesse James". A lifetime of trainhopping and nomadic traveling from town-to-town was given view in his autobiography The World Don't Owe Me Nothing (published in '97). He was featured in the movie The Search For Robert Johnson and had a doc made about his own life and career (Honeyboy And The History Of The Blues). He died at 96, on a day when he was scheduled to perform in Chicago.