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Blues Unlimited

Series produced by Steve Franz

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Join us as we explore the wonderful world of the Blues, and its history, heritage, and rich cultural traditions.

Blues Unlimited is an NPR-style two-hour weekly show that has been called the "best blues radio show in the United States," and has an established and loyal audience of listeners from around the globe. Hosted by "Sleepy Boy Hawkins" (the alter-ego of scholar, author, fanatic, and historian Steve Franz), each installment is a self-contained evergreen show, delving into a different genre, topic, or aspect of the blues. For more details on the program, see our full profile, or email us at bluesunlimited@gmail.com


188 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: A real rarity today, the very first LP issued by Excello was "Rooster Blues" by Lightnin' Slim.
Join us as we venture down to Louisiana, for some five-star slabs of vinyl! We’ll hear selections from "Rooster Blues" by Lightnin’ Slim, "Raining ...

  • Added: Mar 24, 2016
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Ramsey Prison Farm in Texas, 1964. Photo by Bruce Jackson
On this moving and unforgettable episode of Blues Unlimited, we’re going on a journey back in time — to hear the haunting, timeless worksongs of me...

  • Added: Mar 10, 2016
  • Length: 01:58:59
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Join us as we take a look at Big Bear Records — one of England's oldest independent labels — and the 1973 and '74 American Blues Legends tours. We’...

  • Added: Jan 27, 2016
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Third & Beale: According to some, the epicenter of the Blues Universe.
Join us as we take a look back at some of our favorite moments from 2015. In a year filled with highlights, great blues, and a bunch of good music,...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2016
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: One of the most beloved performers in the blues, Mississippi John Hurt made his recording debut for the OKeh label in Memphis, on Valentines Day, 1928. Image by R. Crumb.
Join us as we continue our in-depth look at the blues in Memphis, from early 1928. This time, we’ll take a look at the recordings made by the OKeh ...

  • Added: Jan 07, 2016
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: After making his recording debut for Paramount in 1927, Gus Cannon teamed up with some old friends and formed “Cannon’s Jug Stompers,” who made their first sides as a group for Victor, in early 1928.
Join us as we continue our look at the blues in Memphis, this time from early 1928. We’ll hear recordings made for Victor by Cannon’s Jug Stompers,...

  • Added: Dec 13, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: The first group to record in Memphis, on February 24th, 1927, the Memphis Jug Band were hugely popular and became widely influential. Illustration by R. Crumb.
Join us as we get into our time machine, and go back to the year 1927, to take a look at the very beginnings of the blues in Memphis. We’ll hear cl...

  • Added: Nov 17, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Another rare offering from the Bluesville catalog, this LP, by Brooks Berry and Scrapper Blackwell, never made it to the digital age.
Join us for another installment of "The Legends of Bluesville," as we aim the spotlight on the city of Indianapolis. Home to a once-thriving musica...

  • Added: Oct 29, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Wee Bea Booze, one of the sweethearts of Decca, who had a huge number one hit in 1942 with "See See Rider."
Join us as we celebrate "The Sweethearts of Decca," with a program dedicated to just the ladies. Our inspiration comes from the "The Decca Blues Bo...

  • Added: Oct 13, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Recording the prisoners at Parchman Farm. Photo by Alan Lomax.
Join us for an extra special program of stories and songs collected from Parchman Farm, one of the most notorious prisons in the United States. Asi...

  • Added: Sep 08, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: This tribute album, issued by Bluesway in 1973, was compiled from recordings Hooker made in 1966 and 1967 in Sauk City, Wisconsin.
Join us for a special tribute to slide guitar master Earl Hooker. During the spring and summer of 1969, he recorded extensively for Bluesway, behin...

  • Added: Aug 19, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Due to its iconic cover photo, this 5-star slab of vinyl from Howlin' Wolf is affectionately known as "The Rockin' Chair Album."
Join us we continue with our ongoing series, Desert Island Classics. This time, we put two giants of the harmonica, Little Walter and Sonny Boy Wil...

  • Added: Aug 13, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: One of the six installments in Atlantic’s "Blues Originals" series, compiled by Pete Lowry in 1972.
Join us as we continue with our ongoing series, Desert Island Classics. This time around, we’ve got a handful of five-star vinyl, all from Atlantic...

  • Added: Jul 14, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: B.B. King's very first LP, which contained all four of his number one R&B hit records.
Join us as we celebrate the life and music of B.B. King, by counting down the biggest hits of his career. Spanning the course of four decades, we’v...

  • Added: Jun 27, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
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Join us as we take a look at the recordings that Memphis Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Otis Spann made in New York City for the Candid label in 1960...

  • Added: Jun 15, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Another classic from Bluesville: Henry Townsend's LP for the label is a super-rarity today.
Join us for another installment of our ongoing series, "The Legends of Bluesville." This time around, we’re going to St. Louis, to hear from Henry ...

  • Added: May 26, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: James Cotton and Pat Hare (with guitar), in better times. Photo by Jacques Demêtre, 1959, Chicago.
Join us as we pay tribute to a firebrand guitarist, Pat Hare. Joining up with Howlin’ Wolf when he was just a teenager, he went on to record with J...

  • Added: May 05, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
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Join as we get into our time machine, and journey back to Dallas, December 1927. That was when Columbia Records became the first major label to mak...

  • Added: Apr 14, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: Original poster advertising the 1968 Memphis Country Blues Festival. Image courtesy of Mike Vernon/Blue Horizon Records.
Join us as we aim the spotlight on the Memphis Country Blues Festivals of 1968 and 1969. We’ll hear from Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Sleepy John Este...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Apr 03, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
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Join us for part two of our special on the legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy. We’ll hear stories, conversation and song, al...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Mar 09, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1