Each morning I arise with a different song; from Stephen Foster to Stephen Sondheim, let's explore 100 years of popular American music and the artists who interpret them. Reviews, comments, observations and downright biased prose of the songs that have defined us as a people. Comments welcome.
A moment of silence, if you please. And in this moment, feel molasses warm sun on dark skin. Humidity thick as cotton and music sweet as a brown eyed young woman with long tan legs and a bottle of hooch.
"Honeyboy" back in the day.
Feel in this moment a lifetime of callous thick fingers on shiny steel strings and the certain joy of a bottle top glass slick sliding oh so sensual up the neck of an eight dollar guitar.
Hear stories from the lips and life of David "Honey Boy" Edwards. His hard time ghost stirs from the crossroads and walks the delta road with feet that click like a piece of cold rolled metal on frets.
"Honey Boy", his aunt called him, when nine decade plus a few years ago she watched him toddle across the floor of a house in Shaw Mississippi. Honey Boy, who watched his father playing a guitar. That wood and stretched-tight-string contraption siren that calls many of us overwhelmed him and the world lay at his feet.
The Grammy and the Delta Bluesman
He is gone now. Gone where the real guitar players go and is playing with Robert, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and the rest. He sits in peace on the back-porch of paradise where there are no signs over the water fountain that read "Whites Only" or the gates of gold for one color and the gates of coal for another.
He, the last of the direct links to Delta blues; with a good book, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing: The Life And Times of Honey Boy Edwards" and a string of sinuous songs; "Long Tall Woman Blues", "Gamblin' Man" and "Just Like Jesse James".
He eased into Chicago in the 1940's and played all the clubs and bars and street corners on Maxwell Street. He played and played, the notes spilling from the neck and the warm, slick slide. And it was in that town he passed yesterday at 96. He played right up to a few months ago. He was a Grammy Award winner and recorded for Earwig Music Company.
I sat with John Lee Hooker in Montreal so many years ago. It was like no other conversation in the world. He would play a lick, then take a taste from the paper bag, then play a lick and talk some more.
I wish I had time to listen to "Honey Boy".
What I heard, I never could duplicate.
So go down to the cross-roads no more, "Honey Boy". That man with the black suit and the hollow eyes and the hound dog is waiting. He will wait until someone else shows up.