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


215 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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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
Caption: Pictured: A man who was no stranger to the blues, musical alchemist Bill Haley. Image courtesy of Rex Features/The Telegraph.
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: One of the toughest slices of blues to come out of Sun Records. Inset: 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 Magazine.
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