There are many myths and legends surrounding the crossroads, the location where Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil. To hear stories from a contemporary of Mr. Johnson, someone who Robert Johnson actually played with, would be a blues guitar geeks dream… Well, blues guitar geeks, it’s time for dreams come true.
Honeyboy Edwards was indeed a contemporary of Robert Johnson and the two actually had worked together for a brief time. Honeyboy has story upon story of what it was like to be in the first wave of delta bluesman. Playing for tips on the street, having to travel via freight car, and performing in juke joints; David “Honeyboy” Edwards was the real deal. Prior to Honeyboy’s passing in August of 2011, a documentary was made telling of his life, sharing his story, and offering up some great historical commentary on the roots of the blues.
This film is littered with insight, opinions, and thoughts from a true first generation delta bluesman. Some of the tales that are told seem absurd and almost as if they came from another world, but they are very very real. The fact that the musician that experienced all of this is actually the one telling the stories makes this one of the most legit documentaries on the subject. Having Honeyboy tell the stories and give historical references is great, but once you see some of the other musicians featured your jaw will drop. Luminaries such as Lucinda Wiliams, Robert Cray, Keith Richards, BB King and more share their thoughts on the history of the blues as well as Honeyboy’s place in the shaping of delta blues.
When I first watched this film it took me a good 10 minutes to really find my groove, but I am so glad that I did. It is chocked full of iconic musician references and a story of a man who really was the blues through and through. It is even complete with some on location performances from Honeyboy, and that alone is proof that this man is the blues from head to toe. This is one that is worth spending a night with; sink into the documentary and get a first-hand account of what makes the blues the blues.
Honeyboy Edwards Documentary Links: