Honeyboy | Chicago Reader


82 minutes 2003

Scott Taradash tells the engrossing story of Chicago bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who was born in 1915 in the Mississippi Delta and jammed with Robert Johnson as a young man. Taradash focuses less on Honeyboy than on the world that shaped him. In one dramatic tableau legless singer and harp player Willie Foster (born in 1921) is shown stripped to the waist in a cotton field and moaning the blues, and in another Honeyboy plays guitar on the railroad bridge he crossed as a boy when he left his family. The live music is stirring throughout, and there's some wonderful 1969 footage of Honeyboy and harp player Big Walter Horton accompanying Alabama bluesman Johnny Shines. The commentary is less consistent: B.B. King provides some fine recollections of sharecropping life, but gee-whiz pondering from blues-crazy novelist Ace Atkins and aspiring young singer-guitarist Waymon Meeks slow down the film's 82 minutes.

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