The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Bobby Edwards, the Troubadour of Greenwich Village (12)

January 16th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Since Edwards in his Village heyday was described as a former illustrator, I’ve been curious about that earlier career.  After a little rummaging, I think I found something.  A “Robert Edwards” illustrated a book by Marion Hill, Harmony House, in Boston in 1910.  Is it the same Edwards?  I don’t know, but I think so:  the time and place are right; and the signature looks the same.

It does look different from his usual ink sketches; but I presume he could be more polished for the sake of the fee.  He was certainly capable of more detailed renderings.  Here, for example, is another of his illustrated songs.


Please note the different version of the self-portrait that you admired in an earlier post (#4).  I also call to your attention his cat Dirty Joe (himself a notable Village character) in the upper right corner, the ukulele chords, and the guitar.  Did Edwards make guitars as well?

Edwards also did advertising art on occasion.  According to John Reed’s magnificent ode to Village life, “The Day in Bohemia” (1912):

BOB EDWARDS, when he needs some other togs,
Draws pictures for the clothing catalogues.

Reed’s rollicking poem can be read here; Edwards makes another appearance later:

Bring on your wine, bring on your raviola,
Here’s EDWARDS and his kitten, — let us troll a
Catch that will ring from Cos Cob to Ecola!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

Tags: Bobby Edwards · Ukulele

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Mamie // Jan 16, 2011 at 1:05 am

    It looks like Dirty Joe has a friend a couple of rows down!

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