|How great it is, to be of an age when you can remember seeing some of the elders of acoustic
blues plying their trade. Slim pickin's, if you want such stuff now. But those who pine for it will value this
13 cut set from Archie Edwards (1918-98), a Piedmont singer/guitarist whose instrument of choice for the session
was an antique Gretsch with a resonator. So rest assured, there's an old timey feel to the music here, but without
a jot of matterist contrivance. Edwards was definitely the McCoy. His guitar playing is brittle as you'd expect
from an instrument with a resonator, but warm thanks to the sensitive original recording (in '86 by Serge Sloimovitz)
and remastering (by B. Garrett). He was an unostentatious and admirable player with a voice that almost never shouts
or strains, but definitely puts the word out.
He reveals to the attentive listener a bygone, roughshod America in "Greyhound Bus Blues" and "One Thin Dime", and discusses sundered love,on John Hurt's "That Won't Do". His "Poor Me" is both plaintive and laconic, lamenting joblessness during the Reagan years.
A good song albeit fictional, as Edwards was a motivated man who worked as a trucker, barber, and security guard throughout his life, in addition to playing his music. He did several tours abroad and was profiled in Sounds So Good To Me: The Bluesman's Story (Barry Lee Pearson, University of Pennsylvania Press '94), but huge renown eluded him. His music is nostalgic but timeless in its excellence as American aural art. Thanks to Northernblues for issuing with the dignity it deserves; including Garrett's good remastering and generous liner notes.