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


215 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Harmonica ace Snooky Pryor. Image courtesy of Blues Unlimited magazine.
Join us as we pay tribute to one of the pioneers of postwar Chicago blues harmonica, Snooky Pryor. Making his recording debut in 1948, he cut some ...

Bought by KRPS and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Jan 18, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Pictured: A personal favorite of Clifford Antone, Chicago blues guitar legend, Eddie Taylor.
Join us as we head back down to Antone’s legendary nightclub in Austin, Texas, to hear music from Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Jimmy Rogers, Memp...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Jan 11, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
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In July 1939, the engineers from Vocalion Records set up shop for two weeks in Memphis, cutting almost 170 sides by more than a dozen artists. The ...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Jan 06, 2014
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
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It’s time for our annual Christmas Extravaganza Spectacular! With holiday favorites from Jimmy Smith, Booker T. & the MGs, Ray Charles, Jimmy McGri...

Bought by KHNS, KMXT, and WJAB


  • Added: Dec 14, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: One of the most popular gospel preachers ever, the Rev. J.M. Gates.
Join us as we take a look at some of the great gospel preachers. From vintage favorites by the Reverends J.M. Gates and A.W. Nix, to postwar classi...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Dec 07, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Photo of a Juke Joint in Central Texas by Chris Strachwitz
Join us for part two of our tribute to the Blues Classics label. Founded by Chris Strachwitz as the 'unofficial' reissue arm of Arhoolie Records, w...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Nov 30, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: One of the distinctive covers from the Blues Classics series. Cover photo of Richmond, Texas by Chris Strachwitz.
Join us as we aim the spotlight on a legendary series of albums from the Blues Classics label. Founded by Chris Strachwitz as a companion to Arhool...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Nov 23, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The perfect complement to any meal, Good Biscuits — just ask Memphis Minnie!
Join us for a star-studded tribute to the wonderful world of food! We’ve got all the major food groups lined up this time, from songs about barbecu...

  • Added: Nov 17, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: "Queen of the Boogie" and early recording star for Modern Records, Hadda Brooks
Join us for two hours of our favorite Boogie Woogie piano. From the "Big Three" — Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis — to some of the...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Nov 09, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: George Barnes, in his early days.
One of the first people to use an electric guitar on a blues record was a 16 year-old kid from the suburbs of Chicago. The incredible true story of...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Nov 02, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Chuck Berry’s game-changing piece of wax from 1955, “Maybellene.”
Join us for more smash hits of the early 1950s, this time from the years 1953 through 1955. Using our top secret formula, we've come up with a list...

  • Added: Oct 28, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: One of the top #1 hits from one of the top labels of the early 1950s.
Join us as we count down the number one smash hits of the early 1950s! Using our top secret formula, we've made a list of the biggest R&B records t...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Oct 21, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Listening to the Blues Unlimited Halloween Special is what all the really cool kids are doing this month!
We're having the Blues for Halloween! Join us for two spooky hours of fun, with tales about black cat bones, haunted houses, voodoo spells, and lon...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Oct 14, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: King of Chicago Blues, Muddy Waters
We continue exploring slide guitar in the Windy City, this time from the early 1950s. We’ll hear from the old masters, Tampa Red, Muddy Waters, and...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Oct 06, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Tampa Red in a 1940s publicity shot. Courtesy Bill Greensmith Collection.
We’re headed up to the great city of Chicago, to hear from some of the titans of the slide guitar. The late 1940s were dominated by Tampa Red, Mudd...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 22, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Bo Diddley with a '57 Chevy. Painting by Chris Osborne.
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we pay tribute to the automobile. Revered in story and song, it’s always been a favorite topic of blues artists...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 15, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Photo of Pete "Guitar" Lewis courtey of Ace Records/Johnny Otis Collection
If you were going to make a list of all the West Coast guitar players, the name of Pete Lewis might very well be at the top. Joining up with Johnny...

Bought by WJSU and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 07, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 2
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Join us as we feature some exciting Down Home Blues from Philadelphia's Gotham label, with music from Baby Boy Warren, Wright Holmes, Dan Pickett, ...

Bought by 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 01, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Poster for the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival.
Join us as we head down to the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. We’ll hear from a number of legends, such as Roosevelt Sykes, Houston Stackh...

  • Added: Aug 26, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
Caption: 1940s RCA Victor publicity shot for Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup.
On this episode, we aim the spotlight on Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. Known for being an imaginative songwriter, he was a highly influential musician o...

Bought by KRPS


  • Added: Aug 18, 2013
  • Length: 01:58:59
  • Purchases: 1