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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


178 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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
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Join us as we take an extended look at the legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy. We’ll hear stories, conversation and song, al...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Mar 02, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Recorded in Jackson, Mississippi, "Natchez Trace" was George “Papa” Lightfoot’s very last LP.
Join us as we take a ride down to Jackson, Mississippi, to hear some lowdown harmonica. We’ll hear from the master — Sonny Boy Williamson, plus, Pa...

Bought by Radio New Zealand and WJSU


  • Added: Feb 21, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
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Join us for a special program featuring two legendary albums. The first, a "Conversation With The Blues," was recorded by Paul Oliver during the su...

Bought by Radio New Zealand and WJSU


  • Added: Feb 06, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: A huge 1947 crossover hit, the catchphrase, "Open the Door Richard," quickly wound its way into American popular culture.
Join us as we take a look at narrative traditions in the blues. Starting with Speckled Red in 1929, we’ll hear classics along the way from Bo Diddl...

Bought by WJAB, Radio New Zealand, and WJSU


  • Added: Jan 28, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: A classic slice of vinyl from the Chess catalog, "Drop Down Mama." Issued 1970 as part of the "Chess Vintage Series."
Join us as we continue with another installment of Desert Island Classics, this time around, putting a legendary slice of vinyl, "Drop Down Mama," ...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Jan 19, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
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 2014. In a year filled with highlights, great blues, and a bunch of good music,...

Bought by WJAB and WJSU


  • Added: Jan 11, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Issued 1968, each of the three volumes of "Rural Blues" were compiled by Canned Heat members Bob Hite and Henry Vestine.
Join us for another installment of "Desert Island Classics." This time, we turn the spotlight on three LPs that came out on the Imperial label in 1...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: A legendary slab of vinyl, "Super Black Blues" was released in 1969 on the short-lived BluesTime label.
Join us as we pay tribute to the BluesTime label — a short-lived subsidiary imprint of Flying Dutchman. Their main claim to fame was a legendary al...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Dec 24, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
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Join us for one of our favorite traditions — the annual Christmas show! We’ll have some old time classics for you, from Leroy Carr, Walter Davis, a...

Bought by WJSU


  • Added: Dec 14, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: First discovered in 1995, the "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" comes from the only surviving copy.
Join us as we aim the spotlight on the rarest 78s of all time. We’ve got some real classics from the 1920s and 30s, that have exactly one thing in ...

Bought by WJSU and KRPS


  • Added: Dec 08, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2