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


213 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Compiler and editor of the Anthology of American Folk Music, Harry Smith
In this episode of Blues Unlimited, we've culled through all the great Blues and Gospel recordings from the legendary LP set issued on the Folkways...

Bought by KHNS, 88.5 JAZZ FM Erie's Jazz Station, and KHNS


  • Added: Jan 21, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Texas Country Blues master Frankie Lee Sims, c. 1969, Credit: unknown
Join us as we celebrate the independent spirit of the Lone Star State with two hours of Country Blues from some of the finest practitioners the sta...

Bought by KHNS, 88.5 JAZZ FM Erie's Jazz Station, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Dec 23, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Pictured: Now considered a classic, “Muddy Waters Folk Singer,” issued 1964, attempted to capitalize on the exploding folk music market of the 1960s.
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we've taken some of our favorite artists – some of them synonymous with the very concept of "Postwar Electric B...

Bought by KHNS, WPSU, and WSLR


  • Added: Dec 11, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Multi-instrumentalist and R&B legend Johnny Otis
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, it's some of our favorite Red Hot Rhythm Rockin' Blues and Sizzlin' R&B. From Memphis Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, an...

Bought by KHNS, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Dec 01, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Little Walter, the King of Chicago Blues Harmonica
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on some of the great harp players that worked and recorded in the Windy City. From John Le...

Bought by KHNS, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Nov 27, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we're having the Blues for Christmas! Come and celebrate with us as we journey through eight decades worth of H...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer, WNMU-FM, KSRQ, KHNS, WNCU and more


  • Added: Nov 23, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: The man behind the controls, Sam Phillips
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, a tribute to Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Although Sam cut a lot of great Blues in the early years of his opera...

Bought by KHNS


  • Added: Nov 12, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Napoleon Strickland on fife, Jimmie Buford on bass drum, R.L. Boyce on snare drum, and Othar Turner dancing , Credit: David Evans
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, join us as we explore the outer reaches of the Blues Universe. From fife and drum band music out of Georgia and...

Bought by KHNS, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Oct 29, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Pictured: Illustrations of the Mississippi Sheiks and Son House by R. Crumb. Bukka White by William Stout.
We pick up where we left off last time, with a look at some of the great Mississippi Blues Masters who worked and recorded during the 1930s and the...

Bought by KHNS, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Oct 14, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Pictured: Immortals of Mississippi blues, Charley Patton and Tommy Johnson. Illustrations by R. Crumb.
In this episode of Blues Unlimited, we take a look at a Who's Who of early Blues masters that lived and worked in the great state of Mississippi. A...

Bought by KTRL


  • Added: Sep 30, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The distinctive cover art for "Rural Blues, Vol. 1"
The Imperial Record label, founded in 1948 in Los Angeles, is well known as the home of Fats Domino and other great New Orleans artists, as well as...

Bought by KHNS


  • Added: Sep 13, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The one and only Lavada Durst, better known to his fans and blues lovers everywhere as "Dr. Hepcat."
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, it's two whole hours of smokin' Blues and red hot R&B from the 1940s. We'll hear from Roy Milton, Jimmy Liggins...

Bought by KHNS and KTRL


  • Added: Aug 28, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we're "recycling the blues" by taking a look at a handful of world-famous, iconic blues songs and tracing their...

Bought by KHNS, WSLR, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Aug 15, 2011
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
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
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: Pictured: B.B. King and his guitar Lucille (courtesy PBS); Upper right: Lightnin’ Hopkins (courtesy Flower Films)
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: Perennial favorites Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Photographer unknown.
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: 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: 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: 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