Monday, November 1, 2010

Wachteligence - Honeyboy Edwards - By A.J. Wachtel

Wachteligence - Honeyboy Edwards
By A.J. Wachtel

AJ: Honeyboy, is it fact or fiction you were with Robert Johnson on the night he was poisoned?

Honeyboy: Yes, me and Sonny Boy (Williamson II, AKA Aleck Miller) were there. It was nine or ten at night and the lights on the street started blinking. It was the sign for all the blacks to get off the street. It was in Greenwood (Mississippi.)  So we went into the bar and there he (Johnson) was, sitting in the corner with his Gibson (guitar) in his arms. I was real young then. He was messing with a woman whose husband owned the bar he was playing at. He got sick from the whiskey. The guy (the bar owner) poisoned him ‘cause he thought that he (Johnson) was messing with his wife. And it took him three days to die. He didn’t just die right there. He died on a Wednesday and they buried him on a Wednesday ‘cause he wasn’t embalmed and they had to do it quick. They didn’t embalm black people then. The next day his sister had him dug up so she could see him.

AJ: So he wasn’t buried at a crossroads?

Honeyboy: No.

By A.J. Wachtel

1 comment:

  1. When I lived in the Delta, the local college radio station opted to go PBS. Every Saturday at midnight, a syndicated program called "Blues Before Sunrise" out of Chicago would play anything from the immortal blues man to the latest generation, until Sunday, 6AM (where host Steve Cushing always ended with Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross"). Case in point, one time, I was doing mushrooms with my then said boyfriend and the show that night was about weird deaths of black blues musicians. I emailed Steve Cushing (I don't think the website is still around) because I wanted a copy of that particular show (he WOULD mention on the air that anyone could email him for a copy of any program). I persisted but never heard from him....The stories Steve Cushing told during that show were, of course, always accompanied by said musician's music, broadcasting in glorious mono on very "well-loved" vinyl. They were SO freakin' bizarre that in my altered 'state' I became a 'part' of these strange and bizarre and mysterious deaths going waaay back right up to Sam Cooke (Cooke's incident in particular always angered me in a very bad way). I loved this show and I have since re-located back to my native New England and I cannot find that great program anywhere, and no PBS radio stations subscribe to it. Understandably so, this ain't da south! This program was very educational I might add, Cushing dedicated at least 15 minutes to each musician, throughout the entire night, adding incredible factoids along with their music. Your acquaintence with HoneyBoy and the short but valuable interview about Robert Johnson is completely fascinating and who wouldn't want to ask or want to know from someone 'who was there.' That's why I loved hanging out at Preservation Hall in Nawlins during the late 1980s and 1990s, after I left Boston, coming out of a crazy organiztion where I deejayed for the Greek Mafia. Those musicians in the French Quarter were as old as GOD and I loved to hear their stories, oh yes I did, I took it all in. I regret missing that fiasco at HOB in honor of Honeyboy, I just don't live close enough to endure the long drive home back to the island of Newport. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I try to keep up with them all. It's great to see you, doing what you've always done best, talking to people and writing it down for the people to see the world through your eyes (or hands, or fingers, whatever!). I've shared this little snippet about Honeyboy with a few good friends of mine, and this time coming back to do it again, I thought I'd post and 'Follow' your blog. Thanks so much, and don't stop following your vision! (as well as awesome and interesting people). ~Ill