We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

Blues Unlimited

Series produced by Steve Franz

Series image

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


208 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Eddie "Son" House, in a contemplative backstage moment
A look at the "Blues Revival" period of the 1960s -- a magical time of rebirth, rediscovery, and forgotten Blues legends of the '20s & '30s recordi...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WJSU, KHNS, KTRL, WUCF and more


  • Added: Dec 27, 2010
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Frank Stokes, also known as the "Creator of the Memphis Blues"
From classic ensembles like Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band to great slide guitar masters like Furry Lewis and Bukka White to the ri...

Bought by KTRL, KHNS, WSLR, WUCF, and KISU


  • Added: Dec 31, 2010
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Willie Joe Duncan & His Unitar, one of the featured artists on this episode of Blues Unlimited
In this episode of Blues Unlimited we pay tribute to those artists -- a veritable parade of the "famous unknowns" -- with a unique distinction in c...

Bought by WJSU, KTRL, KHNS, Spokane Public Radio, and WUCF


  • Added: Jan 09, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: On this episode of Blues Unlimited, it's all about trains
Trains have figured largely in Blues lyrics over the decades, symbolizing freedom, mobility, a free ride to a better place, or the poignant end of ...

Bought by WJSU, KHNS, and WUCF


  • Added: Jan 31, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: George "Harmonica" Smith, Credit: Norbert Hess
When you think of Blues Harmonica, you probably think of giants like Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter Jacobs, or Shakey Horton -- but did you ev...

Bought by KHNS, KMXT, Spokane Public Radio, and WUCF


  • Added: Feb 22, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Distinctive graphics were also a part of the American Folk Blues Festival Tours, including this LP cover of recordings from 1962
We pay tribute to a legendary series of concerts organized by two German men, Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau, beginning in 1962. Known as the America...

Bought by KHNS and WUCF


  • Added: Mar 06, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
We continue our tribute to the American Folk Blues Festival Tours -- a legendary series of concerts organized by two German men, Horst Lippmann and...

Bought by KHNS and WUCF


  • Added: Mar 06, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: A classic blues image: Memphis Slim at the piano, Credit: Raeburn Flerlage
Join us as we take a look at some of the fine piano players who worked and recorded in Chicago over the years — from Curtis Jones, Roosevelt Sykes ...

Bought by KHNS and WUCF


  • Added: Mar 28, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
No particular theme on this episode, just two hours of our favorite Rhythm Rockin' Blues. We'll hear classics from Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf, Profes...

Bought by KHNS, KTRL, WUCF, Northstate Public Radio, and WYSO


  • Added: Apr 06, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: T-Bone Walker, dazzling the crowd with some of his patented pyrotechnics.
Texas has a long and rich history when it comes to Blues Guitar, and here we aim the spotlight on some of the primary movers and shakers to come ou...

Bought by KHNS, KTRL, Spokane Public Radio, and WUCF


  • Added: Apr 17, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Harmonica giant Little Walter Jacobs
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on the art and artistry of the Blues instrumental. Great rockin' performances from T-Bone ...

Bought by KHNS and KHNS


  • Added: May 16, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: J.B. Lenoir, one of the featured performers on this episode of Blues Unlimited.
In this episode of Blues Unlimited, we take a look at Blues and politics, examining such topics as war, the Great Depression, politicians, economic...

Bought by KHNS, KTRL, Spokane Public Radio, and KHNS


  • Added: May 25, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Mississippi John Hurt, on stage at Newport
In this episode of Blues Unlimited, we celebrate the Newport Folk Festival, which brought a veritable who's who of Blues legends to the stage in Ne...

Bought by KHNS, Rhythm & News Service, and KTRL


  • Added: May 31, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Sleepy John Estes
In this episode of Blues Unlimited we continue our celebration of the Newport Folk Festival, which brought a veritable who's who of Blues legends t...

Bought by Rhythm & News Service and KTRL


  • Added: Jun 08, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The Rev. Gary Davis
In this episode of Blues Unlimited we wrap up our celebration of the Newport Folk Festivals of the 1960s, which brought a veritable who's who of Bl...

Bought by KHNS and KVNF


  • Added: Jun 15, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Chuck Berry, live on stage
In this episode of Blues Unlimited we finish up our tribute to the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals by focusing on some of the great and rare Blues,...

Bought by KHNS and KTRL


  • Added: Jun 21, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Stick McGhee (on left) with his older brother, Brownie
With its own unique sound and feel, we aim the spotlight on Down Home Blues from the East Coast, from the mid 1940s to the early 1960s, on this epi...

Bought by KHNS, WPSU, KTRL, KTRL, and KHNS


  • Added: Jun 30, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Lightnin' Hopkins, one of the featured storytellers in this episode of Blues Unlimited.
Who doesn't love a good story? In this episode of Blues Unlimited, it's all about Blues singers and songs that weave tall tales, spin entertaining ...

Bought by KHNS and KTRL


  • Added: Jul 10, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The distinctive cover of Arhoolie LP 1018, "Bad Luck N' Trouble"
Recently, Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records marked their 50th anniversary. We'll celebrate by playing selections from three classic LPs from th...

Bought by KHNS and KHNS


  • Added: Jul 24, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Map of Shreveport, c. 1920.
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on Shreveport, Louisiana. Home to a thriving music scene, the "Louisiana Hayride" (a rival...

Bought by KHNS, WSLR, KTRL, and KHNS


  • Added: Aug 06, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4