Good job parents!

August 30, 2011


David “Honeyboy” Edwards – Gamblin’ Man

August 29, 2011
Hard for guitar to get much better!

The Gambling Man “Honeyboy Edwards”

August 29, 2011
The Gambling Man “Honeyboy Edwards”

Honeyboy Edwards explaining the back ground of the song to Eric Sardinas: “Well, yeah… I’ll tell you about bein’ a gambling man. Back at that time, I’d take my guitar, make me a few nickels, and then I’d get to get down to the game and gamble, and that’s where I could break some up, and then I’m gone.”

I’m a gambling man’
Gamblin’… all night long
Well, I’m a gambling man’
Gamble… all night long

I’m gonna gamble this time, baby
Bring my good gal home

Gamblin’ down in new orleans
Gamblin’ down on rampart street
Well, I gamble in new orleans
Gamble down on rampart street
I fell in love with a little ol’ girl
And her name was Peggy Dee

I’m a gamblin’ man
Gamble from door to door
I’m a gamblin’ man
Gamble from door to door

Yes, I’m gonna keep on gamblin’
My little girl don’t love me no more

I’m a gambling man’
Gamble from town to town
I’m a gambling man’
Gamble from town to town

Yes, ain’t gonna stop my ways, baby
‘Til I bring my bull calf home

Gamblin’ down in loosianna
Gamblin’ down on old man needle’s sugar farm
Gamblin’ down in loosianna
Gamblin’ down on old man needle’s sugar farm
You know I can’t never get lucky
To win my train fare home

Honeyboy didn’t write Gambling Man Blues, as he even talked about Charlie Patton having done the song, but he certainly made it his own. It was the first song I heard him play about 8-9 years ago. It fairly accurately describes the early part of his long life being a Bluesman in Mississippi during the Great Depression. He said he was a hustler’! He ‘hoboed’ (hopping trains) he said, ‘from the Arkansas line to the Alabama line and from the Tennessee line back down to the Louisiana line.’ to get by when he couldn’t find work playing guitar he would often have to take sharecropper work, as for example on Old Man Needle’s sugar farm. Or perhaps it was to make up for or repay gambling debt. It was the Depression and money of any amount was scarce.

The first show he played was at a barbecue in which the entertainment that was supposed to be there never showed. So some of the attendees sent someone after Honeyboy because he was pretty good, despite beig only 13-14 years old. He said he went and played all night. He said he played the same piece, but sang a hundred songs to it. But the partiers didn’t care. Whenever he looked like he was getting tired, they would give him a shot of whiskey, and that would “make him holler.” He said he got home when the sun was coming up that Sunday morning, and it was the first time in his life that he had ever been drunk. In the mid 1930s in Greenwood Mississippi he bumped into a guy to which he would be forever linked, Mr. Robert Johnson. Apparently Honeyboy’s cousin was one of Robert’s girlfriends. So they developed a fast friendship that lasted until Robert’s death shortly thereafter.

Honeyboy was keen on telling the story of the night Robert Johnson was poisoned. He had slapped a mason jar of whiskey out of Robert’s hand once that evening because it wasn’t sealed, it had been open. Honeyboy cautioned Robert not to drink a drink that was already opened. Robert took offense, scolded Honeyboy and when the barkeeper brought another drink, Robert drank it. He died after having been very sick for 2-3 days.

But Honeyboy carried on hustlin’, gambling, hoboing, and living the stereotypical life of a Mississippi Bluesman in the pre-war era. He eventually achieved a degree of success and notoriety in his later years beginning in the 60s, but for the most part, Honeyboy’s death closes out a chapter of history that will never be seen again. A chapter that definitively set the course for popular music of the 20th century. Without the Bluesman of the pre-war era, there would have been no Elvis Presley, no Chuck Berry, no Rolling Stones. There wouldn’t have even been Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf to have gone on to Chicago and influence all of popular music. We only know of or have recordings of a few dozen of the hundreds of Delta Bluesmen that played throughout the Delta, the South and Midwest prior to WWII.

It was a hard life that has had an unquantifiable impact on popular music and culture. Honeyboy was the last man standing, not just living, but playing a rigorous schedule well into his 90s. I met him when he was 93. He played and sang for nearly 2 hours. 2 hours I savored like few events in my life. After the show, we talked briefly about guitar. I bragged on his left hand technique as at 93 it was virtually flawless. He appreciated that and complained that his amp was acting funny that day. I couldn’t tell. I was in awe of talking to someone that had shared a stage with Robert Johnson who still is an almost mythical figure to me.

I’ve been fortunate I suppose to have met a variety of “celebrities” in my 33 years. Celebrity is a bit subjective in my opinion and I’ve never understood the excitement of some people. But I unabashedly state that when I met Honeyboy, shook his hand, and got is autograph on his CD, I was tickled to death! He’s in a tiny handful of people that I never had any actual relationship with that I can say I was thrilled, thankful, blessed, and humbled to meet. There are no others of his era or his stature. He was the last representation of the silver lining they came out of the fields, heat, oppression, and depression of pre-war Mississippi.

Honeyboy quite frequently mentioned in interviews, that while he had had a hard life, “The world don’t owe me nothing.” He was content with the life he carved out for himself, and indeed worked so hard to achieve. In the last years of his life, he spent months at a time playing in Europe. Sadly, it’s easier to find crowds in Europe for such amazing music than it is in the U.S.

He lived a long life on his own terms. You never want to see a person like that go, but at 96, Honeyboy Edwards finally won his train fair home.

Uncle Ted doing a little Stranglehold!

August 27, 2011

It last 17 minutes & 22 seconds!

I’ve got a feeling Ms. Irene is going to make the reactions to the D.C. earthquake seem a bit silly.

August 25, 2011

Florida, where teenagers are stupid.

August 22, 2011

So that happened.

August 19, 2011