Archie Edwards - Reviews


"Archie Edwards was huge part of Washington, DCís blues scene and was frequently found sharing stages with his buddy Mississippi John Hurt. He didnít record much though this disk captures a 1986 concert in Toronto and is of exceptional sound and musical quality. Archie plays his hollow body Gretsch steel pan guitar with authority and fluidity. His voice is smooth and restrained. His timing and phrasing are on the money, joining together to create a country blues masterwork."

-Dr. Blues
Long Island Blues Society
Spring, 2002 

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"Archie Edwards (1918-1998), from Union Hall, Virgina, played 'Piedmont-style' guitar - thumb and finger picking, no guitar picks. These marvelous recordings, made in Canada in 1986, provide a mixture of original songs and covers of Archie Edwards' musical heroes like Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, The Mississippi Sheiks, Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell. In addition to his masterful guitar playing skill, Edwards was an engaging singer as well.

NorthernBlues Music is to be congratulated for this first rate package from an obscure bluesman who, albeit after his passing, hopefully will gain some well-deserved recognition through this recording. The extensive liner notes tell a fascinating story of a man who worked a variety of jobs throughout his long life but the desire to play the blues thankfully never left him. Edwards made his first recording in 1977 at the age of fifty-nine, and he continued to record sporadically through the early 1990s.

The Toronto Sessions is a winner from start to finish and a rare gem for fans of acoustic blues.

-Richard Fleming
Music City Blues, Nashville, TN
February 2002


"His music is nostalgic but timeless in its excellence as American aural art."

-Tim Schuller
Buddy Magazine, Texas
January 2002

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"These 13 solo tracks...are his only recordings in print. Their quality suggests a blues man worthy of much more documentation and recognition."

-Mike Regenstreif
Montreal Gazette
January 10, 2002

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"He sang of The Candyman and Tea for Texas while pulling crisp, clean guitar lines from his antique steel-pan Gretsch guitar, all in the East Coast, or Piedmont, blues tradition -- a style characterized by a complex finger-picking technique, and lighter than the anguished, heavy-thumped Delta blues."

-Brad Wheeler
The Globe & Mail
November 20, 2001

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Archie Edwards did a lot of jobs in his life - running corn liquor for his father when he was in his teens, sawmill worker, soldier, cab driver - but in the blues world he was best known as the proprietor of the Alpha Tonsorial Palace in Washington DC, a barbershop where the high and the low would gather for a cut, a shave and then maybe a beer or two and an afternoon of listening to Edwards doing his unique Piedmont-style solo blues.

He never recorded or toured as much as he could have, but hard-charging rookie Canadian label NorthernBlues has scored the tapes of this rare session in Toronto in 1986.

It's a supremely confident set of rural blues, pan-steel guitar clanging and ringing and thumping, Edwards' fine voice hollering and moaning.

Edwards does his own tunes, covers from people like Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Lemon Jefferson (
One Dime Blues, Easy Rider) and classics like Sittin' on Top of the World. The good news is there just might be enough on the tapes for another record.

-Norman Provencher
Ottawa Citizen
November 17, 2001