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I was thinkin' that she loved me, she was talkin' holes all in my clothes - J.B. Lenoir, I Lost My Baby

Author Topic: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's  (Read 2381 times)

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Offline doctorpep

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David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« on: October 06, 2008, 10:48:55 PM »
Hello, everyone. I have the opportunity to see "Honeyboy" Edwards perform in New York City at B.B. King's on November 10th. If I go to the show, it'll mean that I'll be missing my theories of education class. I'm currently getting my M.A. in TESOL/ESL education. Anyway, I'd like to know if anybody here has seen Mr. Edwards lately. What kind of shape is he in? I know he's in his nineties. He'll be accompanied by a harmonica player and a second guitarist, so I don't see how this could be a bad show. Even if Mr. Edwards' fingers aren't as quick as they once were, the presumably younger guitarist should be able to cover his "mistakes" up, right? Provided "Honeyboy" sings decently and uses even the most stock Blues phrases, I think this show will be awesome, not to mention the historical significance of seeing a man who played with Johnny Shines, Robert Johnson, Robert Junior Lockwood, Big Walter Horton and others, live in concert (notice how I didn't mention R.J. first!). What do you guys think? King's club isn't known to be cheap.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2008, 08:32:14 AM »
You'll be in the same room with a 93 year old survivor (relic?. member? participant?),of the Golden age of Mississippi Blues. What else do you need?
When I saw him at B.B's a little over a year ago, he sounded great.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline doctorpep

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2008, 12:33:46 PM »
You make an excellent point. The only counterpoint I can offer is that it's on a night when I have a class (minor problem), and that I've seen Bo Diddley and Louisiana Red perform less than wonderful shows. I think "Honeyboy" will be fine, though. He sounds like he's in great shape on the recent concert album that won a Grammy (the one with Lockwood and Perkins). Thanks for your opinion~
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2008, 01:31:01 PM »
There's always another class (I know, I teach goddamit...) But at 93, will there be another opportunity to see Dave Edwards?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2008, 03:34:02 PM »
(minor problem)

That settles it. Go see Honeyboy. You can always get the class notes from one of your fellow students. Tell your teacher that you were doing real time fieldwork on descriptive grammar and lexical variation.

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2008, 07:18:44 AM »
My view is that you simply have to go see him if you can.

I saw him in the UK earlier this year.  If I'm to be entirely frank, his voice was great, and the experience was great, but the guitar was somewhat patchy.  I have heard however from others who saw him (and indeed from Michael Messer who played with him) later in the tour, that he'd been just fine.  The show I saw was the first date on the tour I think, so he was probably just a little rusty.

Wouldnt have missed it for the world though.

You're right in saying that the sideman will hold down the tunes and at the very worst you will get some great moments and sounds with some mistakes thrown in.  At best you'll get an unforgettable gig.

Offline lindy

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2008, 09:24:40 AM »
Instead of starting a new thread, I?ll use this one to mention that I saw Honeyboy yesterday afternoon at a mini blues festival held in Lafayette Square here in New Orleans. My main motivation was to simply be in the presence of someone who had rubbed elbows with so many of our heroes. But I admit I was apprehensive because I remember watching him on stage at PT, missing a lot of changes and forcing the other people on stage to scramble to keep up with him or fall back to where he had added an extra bar or two. Turns out it was just as I thought back then: Honeyboy was mighty tired at the end of the workshop week, as I will be when I attend it someday as a 90-year-old participant.

Yesterday wasn?t the same. He was well-rested, and treated everyone to a solid, straightforward, 45-minute country blues set. Did ?Catfish Blues.? Did ?Going Down Slow.? Did a bunch of generic songs in E and A with lyrics taken from all over the blues canon. His timing was spot-on, didn?t drop or add any bars. Voice was strong and mind was sharp, as I hope mine will be at 73, let alone 93. Made the crowd happy by saying that yes, he was voting for Obama (I?m under no illusion that his endorsement will prevent the state from going into the McLain column). Didn?t do any storytelling?that?s something I still treasure from the two years he was on the PT faculty, listening to him talk about the old days up in the Juke, and showing me how to shave a pair of dice to make them do what I want in a crap game.

For the guitar players in the audience it was a satisfying experience. We knew that while a lot of his licks may sound clich?-ish today, when he was first copping them 70(!) years ago, they were still in the first or second generation of being traded around and stolen. For the rest of the crowd it was a good lesson in how to play the blues without a 5-piece band with two keyboards backing you up (that was the instrumentation for the act that preceded Honeyboy). It was a mild and pleasantly unmuggy evening for south Louisiana this time of year, nice sunset, and Honeyboy Edwards was back in New Orleans for a gig. He lived here for a year or two in the 1930s, and I think he mentions in his book hopping a freight and visiting here during The Great Depression.

Sound ominous?

Lindy
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 11:31:04 AM by lindy »

Offline markm

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 08:31:04 AM »
Thank you for that report Lindy. BTW how the heck you been?

Very refreshing to hear that Honey Boy is doing well and making great music. Makes my day.  He sure is a great guy.

Mark

Offline Johnm

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 08:56:41 AM »
Hi all,
I think it's worth pointing out that Honeyboy's metric inconsistencies are not a result of age or infirmity.  His music was never metrically consistent, primarily because its treatment of time is not meter-driven, but is governed instead by pulse and phrase length.  He shares this musical trait with Lightnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Lil' Son Jackson, Robert Lowery and many, many other blues musicians of his generation.  Metric consistency is generally assumed to have evolved out of necessity, once Blues became more often an ensemble music rather than a solo performer's music, but a lot of the early ensemble stuff like Sleepy John playing with Jab Jones and Yank Rachell was metrically inconsistent too.  Pulse plays a much more important part in blues music-making than does meter, and goes to explain why music like that of John Lee Hooker and Robert Belfour is danceable, despite having varying phrase lengths--the pulse is so strong.  It's incumbent upon anybody backing someone like Honeyboy or Robert Lowery to listen!  You can't make any assumptions about phrase lengths, because the phrasing is constantly in the moment, not shoe-horned into a conventional form of twelve bars, each of four beats.
All best,
Johnm

Offline lindy

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Re: David "Honeyboy" Edwards Concert at B.B. King's
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 12:58:10 PM »
When I wrote ?forcing the other people on stage to scramble to keep up with him or fall back to where he had added an extra bar or two? and ?His timing was spot-on, didn?t drop or add any bars? I thought ?Oh man, someone is going to be all over me like a bad suit for writing that,? and I had 2-3 likely candidates in mind.

After taking so many classes for so many years at PT, something had to sink in, and one thing I?ve learned is how ?uneven? phrase length is a big part of African-American rhythmic sensibility and country blues. I understand that the reason it sounds foreign to many ears is that we are so used to hearing 8, 12, 16, etc. bars over and over again with no diversity in pop tunes and electric blues. I especially love the way that John Jackson used to play with time, it?s always a fun challenge when I?m trying to learn one of his songs. Same with Robert Belfour--though as JohnM noted, the steady pulse helps a lot with his music.

But I also think that there?s purposeful manipulation of time (or maybe it would be better stated as ?natural? manipulation of time), and there?s common everyday mistakes resulting from fatigue or too much wine or whatever. I think what I witnessed at the end of the week at PT that year was fatigue. What I saw on Saturday was someone in complete control of Delta style, including the uneven phrasing that we recognize as central to that form.

Lindy
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 01:38:22 PM by lindy »

 


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