Welcome to Blues Unlimited Radio!

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, 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. 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

This Week on Blues Unlimited (March 19-25)

Texas, Chicago & the Juke Joints: A Tribute to the Blues Classics Label, Part 2

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, we’ll hear selections from rest of the Texas volume, as well as a pair of our favorites — “Juke Joint Blues,” and “Chicago Blues – The Early 1950s.”

Pictured: Photo of a Juke Joint in Central Texas by Chris Strachwitz.

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Hour 2

Last Week’s Featured Episode (March 12-18)

Memphis, Detroit & Texas: A Tribute to the Blues Classics Label, Part 1

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 Arhoolie Records, we’ll hear selections from three of our favorites — “Detroit Blues,” “Memphis and the Delta,” and “Texas Blues.”

Pictured: One of the distinctive covers from the Blues Classics series. Cover photo of Richmond, Texas by Chris Strachwitz.


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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….



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Blues Unlimited is an NPR-style two-hour weekly radio show that explores the wonderful world of the blues, and its history, heritage, and rich cultural traditions. It has repeatedly been called the best radio show of its kind currently on offer in the United States market. Named in honor of the groundbreaking periodical, first published in England in 1963 by Mike Leadbitter and Simon Napier, Blues Unlimited has an established, 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, theme, or aspect of the blues.

Blues Unlimited is available for broadcast worldwide, at a price that is surprisingly affordable. Radio stations that air Blues Unlimited tell us that it quickly gains traction with their listeners, and that they see their numbers go up when the program is airing. For more info, contact us at: bluesunlimited @ gmail dot com (or, you can use the handy online form, posted near the bottom of this main page).

Steve Franz graduated from the University of Memphis with a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology. He is the author of The Amazing Secret History of Elmore James, which was translated into Japanese in 2006, and selected as one of the 100 Books Every Blues Fan Should Own.

Our distinctive “Third and Beale Street” logo comes from a rare poster for the 1977 Beale Street Music Festival. Artist/designer unknown.

Praise for Blues Unlimited

“Highly recommended for anyone who would like to hear the best blues program under the sun. Great music presented beautifully by the most highly knowledgeable blues historian I am aware of….”
—George Mitchell, folklorist and author of “Blow My Blues Away”

“We were blown away by all the work you put into this.”
—Bob Koester, founder of the legendary Delmark record label
(commenting on the episode, “25 from Bob Koester”)

“I am still in awe of your program. Recently, while waiting for you to post a new one, I went surfing other blues podcasts and you really have no one in your league.”
—T.L., long-time blues fanatic & devoted listener

“I had no idea how much labor went into one of your shows!”
—Paul Garon, renowned author & blues scholar

“I think you are doing an unbelievable job in presenting and preserving a body of work proportionately in size and detail that would rival the audio section of the Library of Alexandria. As a blues lover coming across the Elmore James mini-series and then discovering This Week in Blues History, well, thank you for your devotion and dedication. Bravo!”
—J.T. (listener & blues lover)

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Give Us A Holler!

If you have a topic you’d like us to tackle, want to make a comment on one of our previous shows, or you just want to say hello, we’d love to hear from you! Just use this handy form!

By checking this box, I promise I'm not a part of the Zombie Apocalypse!

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Stay Tuned!

In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll have some exciting stuff for you! We can’t tell you too much right now, but…. there might possibly be excerpts from a brand new book we’re working on! More details to come….


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