Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Tomorrow, April 28, marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Fred Mendelsohn of Regal Records, for which Blind Willie made his last studio recordings - there are 20 extant tracks - in May 1950. Fred died in Palm Beach County, Florida, at age 82.

Happily, though, there is one important blues figure still alive who was around in the days of Robert Johnson and co. Here's a report from Clarksdale Mississippi, by Andy Cohen, posted on the Yahoo pre-war discussion group just nine days ago, which I quote with his permission:

The Juke Joint Festival is going on as I write... Honeyboy [Edwards] played tonight at Sarah's (recently revitalized) Kitchen, alongwith several other bands. The place was packed to the gills. It's a smallplace, but there must have been a hundred people in there. Heck, you couldn't find a parking space anywhere in town unless you tailed someone who was in the process of pulling out. The whole town was packed... for many businesses, the Juke Joint Festival [brings] in more money than they [make] the rest of the year, the same as Christmas does for Macy's.

In any case, Honeyboy was great. He's ninety five years old, the last living recorded prewar bluesman, for those of you who don't know, and the last person to see Robert Johnson alive. As you might expect, he opened with a rousing version of 'Dust My Broom', and went on as fluently as any nonagenarian I ever heard, for forty five minutes, with barely a breath. I think he's going to outlive all of us.

David Honeyboy Edwards wrote a powerful autobiography, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing", and in 2002 gave a substantial interview for Livewire, still available online at www.concertlivewire.com/interviews/honeyboy.htm. The photo used above comes from this source. As far as I can see, no photographer is credited.


wfloyd said...

The Allman Brothers played the Macon auditorium for the first time in almost 20 years on April 23.
I was heartened to see that they are including Dylan's "Blind Willie" in their set.http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=viewthread&tid=104872

This seems apt and perhaps, directly related to Michael's great labor demonstrated in the collection that he generously has donated recently to GSU in Statesboro.

wfloyd said...

And here's a link to the Allmans performing Blind Willie McTell