april 2008

Honeyboy At Large

by David McGee

Photo by Brett Lemke Rook's Tower Productions

honeyboy edwardsROAMIN’ AND RAMBLIN’
Honeyboy Edwards
Earwig Music

An expansive tip of the hat goes to producer Michael Robert Frank for the inspired idea to recreate Delta blues giant David Honeyboy Edwards’s powerful early guitar-harmonica duo teamings, few of which were ever recorded. For these 2007 sessions, he paired Honeyboy with blues harmonica virtuosos Bobby Rush, Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones and Billy Branch, then rounded out the disc with previously unreleased 1975 studio encounters between Honeyboy and Big Walter Horton, a dynamic live set-to between Honeyboy and the electrifying Sugar Blue from 1976, a couple of Honeyboy’s first recordings via Alan Lomax in 1942, and some reminiscences of the blues life shared with Bobby Rush and caught on tape. The stark, unadorned beauty of the new tracks is as striking as the music is deeply felt by the dramatis personae. Ranging from Honeyboy’s sturdy blues moanin’ and deliberate fingerpicking over Bobby Rush’s chilling, shimmering harmonica wails in the title track to the strutting, small combo workout “Apron Strings,” to lowdown, boogie-woogie romping with Walter Horton in “Jump Out,” the mix of music is revelatory of the titular artist’s varied guises as a bluesman. Frank’s austere, close-miked production perfectly captures these artists’ ferocious energy, in settings so live Honeyboy seems present in the room with you, inveighing against all manner of hard-hearted womenfolk and the last fair deal gone down.


Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (www.johnmendelsohn.com)
Website Design: Kieran McGee (www.kieranmcgee.com)
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY; www.flickr.com/audreyharrod), Alicia Zappier (New York)
E-mail: thebluegrassspecial@gmail.com
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024