Our favorite music festival!
From the FB page:
The Chicken Raid is an annual music festival held at the NORTHSIDE TAVERN to honor the late beloved Atlanta bluesman Mr. Frank Edwards. Frank Edwards was born in Washington, GA on March 20th, 1909. At 14, an argument with his father caused Frank to leave home for Florida. In St. Augustine he met Tampa Red, “Champion of the Slide Guitar.” Red influenced and encouraged the younger musician. The two roomed together for a while before Red moved to Chicago in the mid 20’s. Frank stayed in Florida for about five years before moving to Knoxville, TN where he worked in a flour mill. After several years, he hit the road to play music. He traveled all over the country, going up North to play clubs in New York and Chicago during the summer and back down South in the winter to play house parties, cafes and in the streets. He started off hoboing, later taking buses before eventually buying a car. Around 1934 he developed his technique of playing harmonica and guitar at the same time. He played at times with the Star Band, a string band based in Atlanta. In Mississippi he became associated with Robert Petway and Tommy McClennan, with whom he played and traveled. On a trip to Chicago, McClennan introduced Frank to his manager, Lester Melrose, which lead to Frank’s first recording session for the Okeh label in 1941.
When the war broke out, Frank was drafted into the Army. Stationed first in Macon, GA and then in Arizona, he made a lot of money performing for the other soldiers. After two or three years, he was discharged from service due to an accident, and he settled in Atlanta. He met and played with many of the city’s other great blues artists, such as Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss, Curley Weaver and Barbecue Bob Hicks. Rumor has it that it was Curley who, in 1949, arranged Frank’s second recording session (for the Regal label) and backed him on second guitar.
Mr. Frank continued to travel throughout the 40’s until opportunities dwindled in the mid 60’s. In 1971, Frank was “discovered” by blues researcher Pete Lowry, who recorded him in late 1972. This album, Done Some Travelin’ came out on Lowry’s Trix label in 1973.
Mr. Frank celebrated his 93rd birthday on March 22, 2002 at Northside Tavern, performing with Jim Ransone, Dave Roth and Evan Lee. The place was packed with friends, family and fans. Two days later he was in North Carolina with Music Maker Relief Foundation, recording what was to be his last album, Chicken Raid. On the drive home to Atlanta, Mr. Frank, the most beloved and respected figure on the Atlanta blues scene passed away. Until the end, he would put on a sharp suit and hat almost every night and drive himself out to various clubs around town to see and hear live blues. He could frequently be seen at Blind Willie’s or Northside Tavern, sitting at his regular seat at the corner of the bar, drinking diet Cokes and listening to the music that he loved so much.
– Portions excerpted from J. Ransone’s biography page