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


156 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Legendary Memphis guitarist Calvin Newborn, whose older brother was renowned jazz pianist Phineas Newborn.
Join us as we pay tribute to the hot, jazzy guitar of Calvin Newborn. Coming from a renowned musical family, he made his recording debut at the age...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Oct 17, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The one and only Lightnin' Slim, whose rallying cry was, "Well, blow your harmonica, son."
On this episode, no particular theme, just two hours of our favorite Down Home Rhythm Rockin' Blues. We’ll hear from Woodrow Adams, Lightnin’ Slim,...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: Oct 12, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Issued in 1965, "Ramblin' On My Mind" never quite made it to the digital age. It's one of our favorites from the 1960s Blues Revival.
Join us as we dig through the archives, to bring you some of our favorite vinyl from the 1960s Blues Revival. From Mississippi Fred McDowell and Do...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Oct 04, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
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Join us as we head down to Tipitina's in New Orleans, for a great big helping of live blues and house-rockin' gumbo — served up piping hot by the g...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Sep 16, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Frankie Lee Sims, making his recording debut on Texas' very own Blue Bonnet label, in 1948.
We take a look at some killer down home blues from the great state of Texas — all of it from small, independent record labels in operation during t...

Bought by KRPS, WJSU, and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 07, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: From 1927, "The Midnight Special" by Crying Sam Collins; the first known version of this enduring favorite to be recorded by a blues artist.
Join us as we explore blues songs that all have to deal with the subject of midnight. Sometimes, you get midnight showers of rain, other times, it'...

Bought by KBBI, 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: Aug 31, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Issued 1959, "The Country Blues" was a groundbreaking work by Sam Charters. The next year, Paul Oliver followed with "Blues Fell This Morning."
If you're curious about where the Blues Revival of the 1960s got its start, you might want to take a look at "The Country Blues," from 1959, "Blues...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: Aug 25, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Another standout from the Bluesville catalog, "Trouble An' Blues," by Sidney Maiden.
Join us as we continue our look at the legends of Bluesville, this time from the West Coast. That includes music from piano man Mercy Dee Walton, h...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Aug 17, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: We're number one! Pictured: Bill Doggett, whose game-changing "Honky Tonk" spent 13 weeks at the very top of the Billboard charts.
Join us for an all-instrumental extravaganza, as we put the spotlight on King and Federal Records. While other labels certainly recorded instrument...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Aug 10, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Two legendary Hill Country musicians, Sid Hemphill and Lucius Smith. Illustration by Archer Pruitt.
Join us as we follow Alan Lomax through the Hill Country of Mississippi, in September 1959. We’ll hear some exciting fife and drum band music, old ...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Aug 03, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Eddie Taylor, from 1974. Photo by Bill Greensmith.
Join us we wrap up our tribute to Chicago Blues guitar legend, Eddie Taylor. We’ll be hearing some standout selections from his solo work — plus so...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: Jul 27, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Photo of Eddie Taylor courtesy of Rick Jones
Join us as we continue our tribute to Chicago blues guitar legend, Eddie Taylor. Most famous for the recordings he did for Vee-Jay with John Lee Ho...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Jul 19, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: The great Eddie Taylor, doing what he does best. Photo courtesy of Steve Cushing.
Join us — on our 150th episode! — as we pay tribute to one of the real unsung heroes of Chicago Blues, guitarist Eddie Taylor. He worked and record...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: Jul 13, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: A standout cut from Jr. Wells, featuring the distinctive Chief Records logo.
Join us as we take a look at the small but mighty Chief label, out of Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1957 by entrepreneur Mel London, it was only in...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Jul 06, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: The ever-popular Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of the great string-benders of Gospel Music.
On our annual Gospel Show, "Brother Hawkins" takes the reins as we aim the spotlight on some of our favorite guitar-slinging ladies of Gospel music...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and KRPS


  • Added: Jun 28, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Also featured on this episode, a legendary slice of vinyl from the Specialty archives; compiled by Barret Hansen in 1972.
Join us for some terrific Down Home Country Blues from Specialty Records. In addition to Frankie Lee Sims and Clifton Chenier — two of our all-time...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Jun 22, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Illustration by the Daily Planet/Tom Wilson, depicting Robert Johnson's recording debut in a San Antonio hotel room, 1936.
Join us as we go back to the 1930s and dig out some of the rarest blues of all time. From Leroy Carr and Robert Johnson to Big Bill Broonzy and Bli...

Bought by WJSU, 90.5 WSNC, and KRPS


  • Added: Jun 15, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Another standout from the Bluesville catalog, "Free Again" by Robert Pete Williams.
Join us for part two of our new and ongoing series, "The Legends of Bluesville." This time around, we’ll aim the spotlight on Texas and the Gulf Co...

Bought by WJSU, KRPS, and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: May 24, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the Bluesville label.
Join us for the launch of a new and ongoing series, "The Legends of Bluesville." This time around, our focus will be on the Eastern Seaboard, with ...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: May 19, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
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Join us as we finish up our tribute to the "The Blues," a series of five LPs issued by Chess Records in the mid 1960s. We’ll hear classics from Mud...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, and KRPS


  • Added: May 11, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3