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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


209 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Two men who would shake up the music world in the mid 1950s, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, Credit: Tommy Edwards, 1955
Join us as we cross musical and cultural boundaries to find out where the Blues, Country & Western, and Rock & Roll music all meet and intersect wi...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WMMT, WSLR, 90.5 WSNC, KTRL and more


  • Added: Jul 01, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: The original cover for "Down South Summit Meetin'"
We profile three classic albums from the 1960s rediscovery period -- "Down South Summit Meetin'" by Big Joe Williams, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Terr...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and KHNS


  • Added: May 27, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The man with many pseudonyms, John Lee Hooker
What do John Lee Booker, Birmingham Sam and his Magic Guitar, Delta John, Texas Slim, John Lee Cooker, and Little Pork Chops all have in common? We...

Bought by KUMD, 90.5 WSNC, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Jun 03, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Blues guitarist Wild Jimmy Spruill, caught live in action.
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, it's two hours of pure electric Blues guitar hedonism. We've pulled out a bunch of our favorite records that al...

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


  • Added: May 20, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: A Casey Bill Weldon release showing the distinctive graphics of the Bluebird line
Join us for a look at the Bluebird label. Launched as a budget imprint during the height of the Great Depression, it quickly became home to blues i...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, WSLR, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: May 11, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: A definitive recording in the history of Chicago Blues, featuring Muddy Waters, Leroy Foster, and Little Walter at the top of their game.
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on a key transitional period in the history of post-war Chicago Blues, by focusing on the ...

Bought by WNCU, 90.5 WSNC, and KHNS


  • Added: May 10, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
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Join us for two hours of down home Gospel favorites. From raw and gritty obscurities, to other worldly spirituals and a few classics along the way,...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and KHNS


  • Added: Apr 27, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the Bluesville line
Join us for a look at some of the keyboard legends that recorded for the Prestige and Bluesville labels in the early to mid 1960s. Classics from Ro...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC, KTRL, and KHNS


  • Added: Apr 20, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: One of the distinctive album covers from the Bluesville line
Bluesville was a label that got its start in 1959, and issued a remarkable series of albums -- almost 90, altogether -- during the height of the Bl...

Bought by WSLR, 90.5 WSNC, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Apr 13, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
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We aim the spotlight on one of the most famous independent record labels of all time — Chess Records. Officially founded in 1950, we take a concent...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, 90.5 WSNC, KHNS, and KTRL


  • Added: Apr 07, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 4
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On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on two fine LPs that came out on the Takoma label back in 1980, all recorded in Chicago in...

Bought by KTRL and KHNS


  • Added: Mar 31, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2
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We pay tribute to the great Nashville label, Excello, which issued some superb early '50s R&B, and also the legendary Louisiana Swamp Blues of Slim...

Bought by KMXT and KHNS


  • Added: Mar 09, 2012
  • Length: 01:59:01
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Willie Johnson, during his Chicago days with the Howlin' Wolf, Credit: Corrinia Harris Wallace/Living Blues Collection
Join us for Part 2 of our extended tribute to blues guitarist Willie Johnson. Once called the linchpin of Howlin' Wolf's band, Willie and the Wolf ...

Bought by KHNS and KHNS


  • Added: Mar 02, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Guitarist Willie Johnson, in his later days., Credit: John Anthony Brisbin/Living Blues
Perhaps one of the most underrated blues guitarists of all time, Willie Johnson is best known for his incendiary, firebrand work with Howlin' Wolf....

Bought by KHNS, KTRL, and KHNS


  • Added: Feb 17, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
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Join us as we examine the working life in story and song. From hard times trying to find work in the Great Depression, to prison work songs, the pe...

Bought by KMSU, KHNS, and KHNS


  • Added: Feb 10, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: New Orleans keyboard legend Henry Roeland Byrd, a.k.a. Professor Longhair
Join us for two great hours of piano blues from New Orleans. From classic R&B party favorites to keyboard legends like Professor Longhair, Fats Dom...

Bought by KHNS, KTRL, and KHNS


  • Added: Feb 03, 2012
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
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
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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