Join us as we celebrate and explore the wonderful world of the blues, and its history, heritage, and rich cultural traditions. Blues Unlimited is the premier destination for fans, lovers, aficionados, authors, musicians, researchers, radio programmers, and scholars — as well as those who simply appreciate and want to know a little bit more about one of the great American musical art forms. Now in its ninth year of production, Blues Unlimited presents the “real” blues, from the men and women who lived that life and made that music. Nothing is ever watered down on Blues Unlimited.
Tightly focused themes are the Blues Unlimited “stock-in-trade,” with beautifully crafted profiles of renowned musicians, beloved songwriters, vintage record labels, harmonica blowers from Memphis, piano players from Chicago, guitar pickers from Texas, country blues heroes of the 1920s and ’30s, in-depth city-by-city surveys, classic, rare, and out-of-print vinyl, and legendary field recordings of the 1930s through the 1970s.
Connect with something vital, vibrant, and authentic, each and every week, on Blues Unlimited.
Every Tuesday, we’ll post this week’s featured episode, and just in case you missed it, scroll down a bit further to catch last week’s show, and one of our favorite installments from our new series, “This Week in Blues History.”
As always, thanks for listening!
—Sleepy Boy Hawkins
Featured Episode for July 16-22
Movin’ & Groovin’ to the Hammond B3
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we’re movin’ and groovin’ to the sounds of the Hammond B3 organ. Popular in Jazz, Blues, R&B, Soul, and Gospel, we’ll celebrate the history of this hit making instrument over the years, with rarities from Sam Lazar and J.C. Davis, plus all time classics from Bill Doggett, Booker T. & the MG’s, Jimmy McGriff, and more.
Pictured: Hit maker for Stax Records, Booker T. Jones.
Featured Episode for July 9-15
Chicago Blues Harmonica 1945-1955
On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we take a look at some of the great harmonica wizards that were a mainstay of the Chicago Blues scene. Beginning with ‘The Chairman of the Board’ – John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, who was pretty much responsible for putting the harmonica on the Windy City Blues map in the first place – and continuing on up through the early recordings of Little Walter, Snooky Pryor, Junior Wells, and Big Walter Horton, it’s a veritable feast of Harmonica Blues, as we pull out some of the finest waxings the Windy City had to offer, including some rare gems and a look at some of the ‘lesser knowns’ who were a part of the scene as well.
Pictured: Little Walter, the King of Chicago Blues Harmonica.
One Last Chance (Featured Episode for July 2-8)
Blues from the Outer Limits
On this special edition of Blues Unlimited, we pull out all the stops and dig through our archives in search of blues musicians that play one-stringed instruments, Fife and Drum Band music from the Hill Country of Mississippi, blues artists that play pan pipes and trombones (no, not at the same time) as well as a variety of home made instruments. From cult favorites like Bongo Joe to the crowd-pleasing one-stringed boogie riffs of Lonnie Pitchford to the celestial sounds of Gospel singer Washington Phillips, we leave no holds barred on this one for a show dedicated to the odd, the unique, the bizarre and the downright wonderfully weird into one utterly delightful package. Includes rare and classic performances by One String Sam and Willie Joe Duncan & His Unitar, Othar Turner, Jesse Fuller (the one-man-band and his homemade ‘fotdella’); perennial favorites Hezekiah and the Houserockers; Ann Arbor, Michigan street performing legend Shakin’ Jake Woods, and many more.
Pictured: Napoleon Strickland on fife, Jimmie Buford on bass drum, R.L. Boyce on snare drum, and Othar Turner dancing. Photo by David Evans.
And… Don’t Miss “This Week in Blues History”
2018 was a big year for us! We started — and finished — a brand new series of 52 audio essays, called “This Week in Blues History.” Here’s one of our favorites, from the week of July 22nd. It involves a legendary blues performer from Bentonia, Mississippi, who made an historic appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, in 1964. It had been 33 years since he last recorded, and no one knew quite what to expect….