Frank Edwards was born in Washington, the county seat of Wilkes County, Georgia, on March 20th, 1909. “Wilkes County wasn’t nothin’ then but... farming place.” He “always loved the guitar” and bought one when he was 8 or 9 years old, but his father made him “carry it back. He was such a terrible Christian, he didn’t want it in his house.” At 14, an argument with his father caused young Frank to leave home for St. Augustine, Florida. “I stayed away and didn’t go back until twenty-some years. I ain’t seen him no more since.” The first thing he did when he got away from home was to buy a guitar.

In St. Augustine, he met Tampa Red, “Champion of the Slide Guitar”. Tampa Red, who was four years older, influenced and encouraged the younger musician. The two lived together for a while before Tampa Red moved to Chicago in the mid 20’s. Mr. Frank stayed in Florida for about five years before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee where he worked in a flour mill. After about five years in Knoxville, he hit the road playing music. He traveled all over the country, going up north to play in clubs in New York and Chicago in the summer and back down south in the winter to play for house parties and at cafes and in the streets. He started off hoboing, later taking busses, and eventually buying a car. Around 1934, he picked up 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 associated with Robert Petway and Tommy McClennan, whom he played and traveled with. On a trip to Chicago, McClennan introduced his manager, Lester Melrose to Mr. Frank which led to his first recording session for the Okeh label in 1941.

When the war broke out, Mr. Frank was drafted into the army. Stationed first in Macon, Georgia and then in Arizona, he made a lot of money playing for the other soldiers. After two or three years, he was discharged from service due to an injury and settled in Atlanta. There he met and played with Atlanta’s other great blues musicians like Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss, Curley Weaver, and Barbecue Bob Hicks. It was Curley Weaver who, in 1949, arranged Mr. Frank’s second recording session for the Regal label, backing Mr. Frank up on second guitar.

Mr. Frank continued to travel throughout the 40’s. Apparently he was well known in Chicago as “Black Frank” by other musicians such as Muddy Waters and Homesick James. Playing opportunities slacked off by the mid 60’s. In 1971, Mr. Frank was “discovered” by blues researcher, Pete Lowry, who recorded him in late 1972. The album, “Done Some Travelin’” came out on Lowry’s Trix label in ‘73.

Mr. Frank celebrated his 93rd birthday on March 22nd, 2002 at the Northside Tavern in Atlanta performing with Jim Ransone and Dave Roth from the Breeze Kings on second guitar and bass and Evan Lee on drums. The place was packed with his family, friends, and fans. Two days later he recorded a soon to be released CD in Greenville, South Carolina - his first studio recording since the Trix sessions in '72. On the drive back to Atlanta, Mr. Frank Edwards, the most beloved and respected figure on the Atlanta blues scene, passed away in his sleep. Mr. Frank went out the same way he lived his life - with the utmost class and dignity. 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 live music. He could frequently be seen at Blind Willie’s or the Northside Tavern, sitting at his regular seat at the corner of the bar, drinking a diet Coke (He quit drinking when he was about 40 years old.) and listening to the blues that he loved so much.