Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

HONEYBOY EDWARDS

ROAMIN' AND RAMBLIN'

2008-05-06

On the eve of his 93rd birthday and with a disc chock full of “A” list guests like Bobby Rush, Billy Branch, Sugar Blue and Walter Horton providing cover it would be easy for Honeyboy Edwards to slide through this disc with a few lazy strums on his guitar and to take advantage of the “boy, how does he still do it?” accolades that usually follow projects like this. But Edwards will have none of that. As befitting a hard scrabble bluesman who literally followed the blues from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago, jumping rails and walking trails with the likes of Robert Johnson and Little Walter, Edwards doesn’t hide behind either his guests or his age. Instead, he goes head to head with his guests with slinky interplay between his well honed guitar chops and their traditional sounding harmonica licks. Aiming to duplicate the blues as it sounded between the 30’s and 60’s before it went through a shot gun wedding with rock and roll this disc is rough, raw and brimming with Edwards’ undiminished talent as a first rate guitarist. Proof of Edwards’ long run and his immunity to the ravages of age comes from the wide span of time represented by the 19 tracks included on this release. Edwards’ 1942 track, "The Army Blues", doesn’t sound dated and, remarkably, doesn’t cast a youthful shadow over the mid-70’s tracks recorded with Walter Horton, "Smoky Mountains" and "Jump Out", or the balance of the tracks recorded in 2007. Adding to the sense of living history that permeates this disc is the inclusion of three spoken blues tales including one with blues historian Alan Lomax, "Freight Train Tale". Smitty

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