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


209 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: King of the charts during the 1940s, Louis Jordan
Join us as we count our way down through the biggest #1 R&B hits of the late 1940s. It was a period dominated by Blues shouters, wailing saxes, and...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and WNCU


  • Added: Dec 16, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Join us as we take a look at yet another handful of iconic, world famous blues songs, and trace their roots back through time to their original ver...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and WNCU


  • Added: Dec 10, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Jimmy Lee Harris. Photo by George Mitchell.
Join us as we explore the legendary field recordings of George Mitchell from the Lower Chattahoochee River Valley of southwestern Georgia and south...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and WNCU


  • Added: Dec 01, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Son House at the July 1965 Newport Folk Festival, Credit: John Rudoff, M.D.
Join us for a tribute to the life and extraordinary music of Son House. His recordings from 1930 and the early 1940s not only helped define the ver...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WNCU, and WSLR


  • Added: Nov 25, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Blues piano legend Leroy Carr, ready for the holidays
Join us as we dust off some of our favorite Holiday-themed Blues and R&B Christmas classics. From Lightnin' Hopkins, Freddie King, and Sonny Boy Wi...

Bought by WJAB


  • Added: Nov 18, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The cover for "Blues Southside Chicago," issued only as an LP in the U.K.
Join us as we profile some mid-1960s Chicago Blues classics. We'll be hearing selections from "Chicago/The Blues/Today!," rare LP-only tracks off o...

Bought by WNCU and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Nov 10, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: South Side Chicago. Photo by Erik Lindahl
Join us as we profile some mid-1960s Chicago Blues classics. We'll be hearing selections from "Chicago/The Blues/Today!," rare LP-only tracks off o...

Bought by WNCU, 90.5 WSNC, and WSLR


  • Added: Nov 03, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Snow on the El tracks. Photo by Ann Charters.
Join us as we profile some mid-1960s Chicago Blues classics. We'll be hearing selections from "Chicago/The Blues/Today!," rare LP-only tracks off o...

Bought by WNCU, 90.5 WSNC, and WSLR


  • Added: Oct 28, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
Remember when you were growing up and your mom told you not to play with your food? Well, we're tossing that advice out the window, as we play with...

Bought by KDUR, KHNS, WUIS, WSLR, 90.5 WSNC and more


  • Added: Oct 20, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 6
Piece image
We pick up where we left off last time, with more great Blues from Detroit. Classics from John Lee Hooker, Baby Boy Warren, Bobo Jenkins, Eddie Kir...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and WSLR


  • Added: Oct 14, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: One of Detroit's finest, Baby Boy Warren. Image by Bill Greensmith.
Detroit was home to a thriving Blues scene in the years immediately following World War II. On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we showcase some of...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Oct 07, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Like fellow Atlanta Bluesman Blind Willie McTell, Barbecue Bob preferred the big open sound of the 12-string guitar, Credit: R. Crumb
When you think of slide guitar, you probably think of Muddy Waters, Elmore James or Son House -- but did you ever stop to think about some of the b...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WSLR, and KTRL


  • Added: Sep 28, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Eddie Taylor - the man behind all those great Jimmy Reed records, all the great John Lee Hooker records, and all the great Eddie Taylor records.
Join us for a grab bag of uptempo, hot and fast Blues and R&B. Rock on down to classics from Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Eddie Taylor, Lightnin' Hopk...

Bought by WNCU, WSLR, 90.5 WSNC, and KTRL


  • Added: Sep 21, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: One of the most influential Blues musicians of all time, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson.
On May 5th, 1937, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Robert Nighthawk made their recording debuts. Accompanied in the studio by Big Joe Williams, ...

Bought by WSLR


  • Added: Sep 14, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
In 1976, the good folks at Nighthawk Records issued an LP by the name "Lowdown Memphis Harmonica Jam." Using that as a jumping off point, we featur...

Bought by KHNS, WSLR, and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Aug 17, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Johnny Young, with his mandolin, Credit: Marc de Jonge/Robert Vanderschueren.
Chicago has a long and rich history when it comes to the mandolin, and on this episode of Blues Unlimited, we explore that legacy over the course o...

Bought by WSLR, KHNS, 90.5 WSNC, and KTRL


  • Added: Aug 04, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the "Anthology of the Blues" series
We wrap up our tribute to the "Anthology of the Blues" and the legendary field recordings of Joe Bihari with selections from the California, Texas,...

Bought by WSLR, KHNS, 90.5 WSNC, and KTRL


  • Added: Jul 27, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the "Anthology of the Blues" series
In part two, we continue our extended look at the "Anthology of the Blues" with classic down home selections from the Arkansas and Detroit volumes,...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, 90.5 WSNC, KHNS, and WSLR


  • Added: Jul 21, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the "Anthology of the Blues" series
In this program, we pay tribute to Joe Bihari, the down home field recordings he made with Ike Turner, and the series of albums that came out in 19...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, KHNS, WSLR, and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Jul 13, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: A rare EP from West Coast keyboard legend Pete Johnson
Join us as we take a look at some of the movers and shakers of West Coast Piano. From Pete Johnson and Hadda Brooks to Floyd Dixon, Gus Jenkins, an...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and KTRL


  • Added: Jul 07, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2