David "Honeyboy" Edwards,
Roamin' & Ramblin'
(Earwig, 2007)

David "Honeyboy" Edwards is absolutely the best 93-year-old bluesman on the planet. Actually, he's one of the best at any age, way up there in the pantheon and well deserving of his status.

Roamin' & Ramblin' shows exactly how good he is. The album consists mostly of songs that feature Edwards on guitar and vocal with a guest harmonica player -- such as Walter Horton, Bobby Rush, Sugar Blue and Michael Frank --on each track. Occasionally, a second guitar or a bass is added, but -- although the supporting musicians kick out with everything they've got -- the fact is, the show is all Edwards'.

His playing and singing are as soulful as a church congregation and as strong as a tank. His solos, never complicated and all based on riffs he must have learned 70 years ago, still sound as new and fresh as organic vegetables from the local market. The tracks range from newly recorded to stuff cut in 1975, but Edwards is so consistent that you can hardly tell which songs are from which era.

"The Army Blues," a solo from 1942, is balanced on each side by 2007 cuts and, if you expect an artist to lose power as he ages, Honeyboy Edwards is going to disappoint you.

That's the only way he'll disappoint you, though. Musically, he won't do a thing but delight and astonish you.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

5 July 2008

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