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Blues Unlimited - The Radio Show

Blues Unlimited - The Radio Show

Join us as we explore the wonderful world of the Blues, and its history, heritage, and rich cultural traditions.

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This Week on BU - R. Crumb's "Heroes of the Blues" (Part 1) (Hour 2)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

In 1980, the good folks at Yazoo Records issued a box set of 36 trading cards called "The Heroes of the Blues," with drawings by legendary illustrator and cartoonist R. Crumb, and text by noted researcher and author Stephen Calt. They've long been favorites with Blues fans, and on this program (the first of three) we dive head first into "The Heroes of the Blues." Among the featured artists on this program are Peg Leg Howell, Blind Blake, Frank Stokes, Jaybird Coleman, Blind Willie Johnson, Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Mississippi Sheiks, and more.

Pictured: One of the "Heroes of the Blues" featured on this episode. Illustration by R. Crumb.

Sleepy Boy Hawkins - in the flesh! - will be making an appearance at the first ever Bainbridge Island Museum of Art’s Mojo Rhythm & Blues Festival! All the details you need to know, right here: https://tinyurl.com/yx9k9sbs

Are you looking for ways to promote your band’s latest release, product, business, or service? Advertise on the podcast that’s been downloaded over one million times, and reach a global audience of blues lovers! Contact us at bluesunlimited at gmail dot com for more details!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-11
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This Week on BU - R. Crumb's "Heroes of the Blues" (Part 1) (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

In 1980, the good folks at Yazoo Records issued a box set of 36 trading cards called "The Heroes of the Blues," with drawings by legendary illustrator and cartoonist R. Crumb, and text by noted researcher and author Stephen Calt. They've long been favorites with Blues fans, and on this program (the first of three) we dive head first into "The Heroes of the Blues." Among the featured artists on this program are Peg Leg Howell, Blind Blake, Frank Stokes, Jaybird Coleman, Blind Willie Johnson, Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Mississippi Sheiks, and more.

Pictured: One of the "Heroes of the Blues" featured on this episode. Illustration by R. Crumb.

Sleepy Boy Hawkins - in the flesh! - will be making an appearance at the first ever Bainbridge Island Museum of Art’s Mojo Rhythm & Blues Festival! All the details you need to know, right here: https://tinyurl.com/yx9k9sbs

Are you looking for ways to promote your band’s latest release, product, business, or service? Advertise on the podcast that’s been downloaded over one million times, and reach a global audience of blues lovers! Contact us at bluesunlimited at gmail dot com for more details!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-11
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This Week in Blues History - June 10-16


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon - https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

“This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Mississippi blues legend Charley Patton, who made his debut for Paramount Records, this week in 1929.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-10
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Smash Hits of the Late 1940s (Hour 2)


Join us as we count our way down through the biggest #1 R&B hits of the late 1940s. It was a period dominated by Blues shouters, wailing saxes, and piano-playing balladeers -- and Louis Jordan was king of the charts. But times were a changing, with independent record producers making inroads into previously uncharted waters.

One iconic record that helped pave the way for what would become the burgeoning independent record scene of the late 1940s was "I Wonder," by Private Cecil Gant. It was just the right record, at just the right time, hitting upon the zeitgeist of World War II and homesick soldiers who would soon be stationed "a million miles away" from their gal back home. The original version was recorded in June 1944 by Leroy Hurte for his independent Bronze label, but when Hurte couldn't keep up with demand, it was quietly recorded again, for yet another independent label, Gilt-Edge. And as events played out, it was Gilt-Edge — not Bronze — that had the Billboard smash hit with it. It was such a huge seller that Gilt-Edge had trouble keeping up with orders as well, even into the early days of March 1945, months after its release.

But it set the record industry on its ear, so to speak. As a massive hit with broad crossover appeal, it was a clarion call to the newly emerging independent record industry that success was possible in a market mostly dominated by the major labels up until that time.

By far, though, Louis Jordan was one of the biggest stars of the era, turning in almost 50 top ten performances on the Billboard charts between 1942 and late 1949, with most of those making it into the top 5, or higher. With cleverly crafted songs and a band that cooked, it's pretty easy to see how he would go on to influence Rhythm & Blues rockers like Chuck Berry the following decade (One main difference between the '40s and the '50s? Louis Jordan's instrument of choice was the saxophone. Chuck Berry wielded an electric guitar.... need we say more?).

To come up with our list of the biggest #1 R&B hits of the late 1940s, we devised a special super-secret formula, giving weight to the number of weeks a record was on the Billboard charts, with bonus points given for number of weeks held in the top position. After hearing the show and seeing the playlist, however, some might wonder why some all time classics didn't make the cut.

One of the most widely heard records of the late 1940s had to be "Open The Door, Richard!" by Jack McVea. Essentially a comedy record cut for the L.A.-based Black & White label, it entered the charts on February 8th, 1947, but only enjoyed a seven week run, topping out at number two, where it stayed for two weeks. "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee," Stick McGhee's homage to good times and cheap booze that helped put a fledgling Atlantic Records on the map, befell a similar fate. After a healthy run of 23 weeks on the charts, it stalled out at number two (a position it held for four weeks), but was unable to penetrate the grasp of three of the hugest hits of the decade that were making a run on the charts at exactly the same time -- "The Hucklebuck" by Paul Williams, "Trouble Blues," by Charles Brown, and "Ain't Nobody's Business," by Jimmy Witherspoon. And speaking of classics by Charles Brown, "Drifting Blues" -- cut in 1946 with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, and one of his most widely covered songs -- hit a similar brick wall when it ran up against Lionel Hampton's version of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop," which was enjoying a 16 week run at the top slot that spring and summer. On the charts for 23 weeks, "Drifting Blues" finally topped out at number two, for two weeks.

Although Billboard chart statistics don't always tell us "the whole story" (so to speak), in any case, here are the hits that a generation of R&B fans danced to, heard on the radio, sung along to, and put their nickels in juke boxes all across America to hear again, and again, and again. Join us then, as we count our way down through the biggest #1 R&B hit records of the late 1940s.

Pictured: At 32 weeks on the charts, “The Hucklebuck,” by Paul Williams, was one of the biggest hits of the decade.

AND... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-05
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Smash Hits of the Late 1940s (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join us as we count our way down through the biggest #1 R&B hits of the late 1940s. It was a period dominated by Blues shouters, wailing saxes, and piano-playing balladeers — and Louis Jordan was king of the charts. But times were changing, with independent record producers making inroads into previously uncharted waters. With our top secret formula, we've made a list of the 34 biggest chart-busters of the late 1940s, and we're counting down to number one!

Pictured: At 32 weeks on the charts, “The Hucklebuck,” by Paul Williams, was one of the biggest hits of the decade.

Help us finish off our fundraiser! We’re almost there! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-05
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This Week in Blues History - June 3-9


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

“This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Tony Hollins, who recorded a blues standard, "Crawlin' King Snake," this week in 1941.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-06-03
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Take No Prisoners: The Monster Guitar of Pete Lewis, 1947-1960 (Hour 2)


“Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 3” was the #2 new release at Amazon for Music Reference and was a top ten new release in Music History & Criticism this past weekend! Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/y4pwwr2f and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64jdbrp

While the name Johnny Otis is certainly synonymous with West Coast R&B, and borders on what many people would call a household name, his one-time guitar player, Pete Lewis, is a virtual unknown whose life is shrouded in mystery.

Apparently, Johnny Otis "discovered" Pete Lewis at his Barrelhouse Club, in 1947, during one of the regular Thursday night talent shows. He went on to hire Lewis to be a part of his band, in what would mark an almost ten year relationship. Legend has it that Lewis came to California by way of his birthplace, now thought to be Oklahoma City, in the year 1913 (previously it was thought to be Louisiana, which we now know to be in error).

What Pete Lewis did prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, was that he was a guitar player like no other. A disciple of T-Bone Walker, he took the electric guitar to new heights, offering sophisticated turns of phrase that bordered on jazz-inflected, to low-down gut bucket riffs that were unceremoniously wrenched out of his instrument — sometimes, all in the same song, or if need be, in the short space of a twelve-bar solo. His playing is at once, crisp, precise, and gritty — not to mention endlessly inventive — the perfect compliment to Otis' rocking big band.

From what we can gather, Lewis must have been something of a character. One anecdote, related in the book “Midnight at the Barrelhouse,” is that during a time of incessant touring, he arbitrarily one day decided to stop talking to his boss, Johnny Otis. After about a year had passed, he suddenly resumed talking to him, as if nothing had ever happened.

One member of the Otis band — a legend in his own right, tenor sax icon Ben Webster — admired Pete's playing, and the story goes that the two of them roomed together while out on the road (Be sure to listen for a couple of inspired duets between the two of them near the end of the first hour).

Although reports vary to the exact date, sometime around 1956, Johnny Otis and Pete Lewis parted company for good. Rumor has it that it was Lewis' problems with alcohol that lead to Otis seeking a replacement, which he found with yet another young and inspired talent, Jimmy Nolen.

Thanks to cracker-jack research detective Rob Ford, we happen to know that Pete Lewis was still playing guitar in the clubs of Los Angeles as late as 1962. After that, details start to get murky. According Johnny Otis, the last time he saw Pete Lewis, it was shortly after the L.A. riots of 1966. In the intervening years since he’d last seen him, Lewis had become a wino, apparently living on the streets. Lewis died a short time later, in 1970, at the age of 57. A sad and ironic end to a man whose guitar playing took no prisoners, and had few equals.

Photo of Pete "Guitar" Lewis courtesy of Ace Records/Johnny Otis Collection.

Help us finish off our fundraiser! We’re almost there! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-28
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Take No Prisoners: The Monster Guitar of Pete Lewis, 1947-1960 (Hour 1)


“Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 3” was the #2 new release at Amazon for Music Reference and was a top ten new release in Music History & Criticism this past weekend! Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/y4pwwr2f and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64jdbrp

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 Otis, his fiery fretwork sparked dozens of sides by Otis, and a host of others, from the late 1940s through the mid 1950s. A tribute to Pete "Guitar" Lewis, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Photo of Pete "Guitar" Lewis courtesy of Ace Records/Johnny Otis Collection.

Help us finish off our fundraiser! We’re almost there! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-28
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This Week in Blues History - May 27-June 2


“Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 3” was the #2 new release at Amazon for Music Reference and was a top ten new release in Music History & Criticism this past weekend! Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/y4pwwr2f and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y5mvhxjb

"This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Eddie Boyd, who recorded the only national chart hit for the Chicago-based J.O.B. label, this week in 1952.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-27
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Prestige and Bluesville Keyboard Legends (Hour 2)


Quite some time ago, we put together two programs that sampled the delectable treasures to be found among the 90 or so LPs in the legendary Bluesville catalog. Although those episodes, in turn, would end up being the inspiration for our seven-part miniseries on the label — the original two programs have been sitting quietly in the archives, gathering dust, ever since. Here they are again, for the first time in many years. In part two, we'll aim the spotlight on the some of the great keyboard legends who recorded for Bluesville (and their parent company Prestige), including Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, and more.

Pictured: One of the distinctive album covers from the Bluesville line.

We’re now raising funds to get the Elmore James biography converted to an eBook. Donate $10 or more, and you will be personally thanked in print... forever! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-21
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Prestige and Bluesville Keyboard Legends (Hour 1)


“Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 3” will be released on May 24, 2019. It is available for pre-order now in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/y4pwwr2f and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y5mvhxjb

Quite some time ago, we put together two programs that sampled the delectable treasures to be found among the 90 or so LPs in the legendary Bluesville catalog. Although those episodes, in turn, would end up being the inspiration for our seven-part miniseries on the label — the original two programs have been sitting quietly in the archives, gathering dust, ever since. Here they are again, for the first time in many years. In part two, we'll aim the spotlight on the some of the great keyboard legends who recorded for Bluesville (and their parent company Prestige), including Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, and more.

Pictured: One of the distinctive album covers from the Bluesville line.

We’re now raising funds to get the Elmore James biography converted to an eBook. Donate $10 or more, and you will be personally thanked in print... forever! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-21
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This Week in Blues History - May 20-26


Announcing “Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 2.” Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/yy5kkgor and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64gdruh

“This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Woodrow Adams, who made his recording debut in Memphis, this week in 1952.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-21
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Bluesville Folk and Country Blues (Hour 2)


BREAKING NEWS! Volume 3 is NOW AVAILABLE for pre-order in the Amazon Kindle Store. Details at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RPGP71W?ref

Announcing “Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 2.” Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/yy5kkgor and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64gdruh

Quite some time ago, we put together two programs that sampled the delectable treasures to be found among the 90 or so LPs in the legendary Bluesville catalog. Although those episodes, in turn, would end up being the inspiration for our seven-part miniseries on the label — the original two programs have been sitting quietly in the archives, gathering dust, ever since. Here they are again, for the first time in many years. In part one, we'll enjoy some great folk and acoustic blues from Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny & Brownie, Robert Pete Williams, Henry Townsend, and many more.

Bluesville was a label that got it's start in 1959, and was owned and operated by parent company Prestige Records. And just as Prestige would become famous for their lengthy series of fine Jazz recordings, likewise, Bluesville would become renowned for the 90 or so albums they put out, on a broad range of Blues legends -- some new, some old, and some overlooked and forgotten.

Prestige had been founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock, and 10 years later, he brought in a PhD student, Kenneth Goldstein, to head up the Bluesville division. Working in the field with producers like Sam Charters, Art Rosenbaum, and Chris Strachwitz, Bluesville recorded such legends as Lightnin' Hopkins and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (whose collective albums made up almost 20% of Bluesville's entire output!), as well as stalwarts like Memphis Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Williams, and some of the overlooked and forgotten -- like Scrapper Blackwell, Pete Franklin, and Furry Lewis, to name but a few.

According to former Prestige/Bluesville employee Sam Charters, it was thanks to Weinstock's "part time" job of commodities trader -- he apparently guessed right more than he guessed wrong -- that enabled the funding for these numerous projects. "The word around the office was that we could do a lot of Blues recording because Bob had guessed right on the wholesale price of eggs," wrote Charters, some decades after the fact. In 1961, Weinstock sent Charters on an extended tour of the Southern states, where he recorded a number of fine albums along the way.

Bluesville stopped issuing LPs in 1966, and new releases were shuffled over to either Prestige, or their Milestone subsidiary (Prestige maintained a number of smaller imprints at any one given time). In 1971, Fantasy purchased Prestige -- and all of their subsidiary labels -- and maintained an extensive reissue program for some time. In the meantime, Kenneth Goldstein finished his PhD, and became an important author and scholar, overseeing the recording and/or production of over 500 albums relating to folk and world music during his distinguished career.

Although Bluesville only operated for about half a dozen years, during that time, they made a permanent and indelible mark upon the Blues world, and on this episode of Blues Unlimited we enjoy a broad sampling of those treasures.

Pictured: One of the big sellers on the Bluesville line, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Fundraiser link - it’s not too late to help! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-14
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Bluesville Folk and Country Blues (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Quite some time ago, we put together two programs that sampled the delectable treasures to be found among the 90 or so LPs in the legendary Bluesville catalog. Although those episodes, in turn, would end up being the inspiration for our seven-part miniseries on the label — the original two programs have been sitting quietly in the archives, gathering dust, ever since. Here they are again, for the first time in many years. In part one, we'll enjoy some great folk and acoustic blues from Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny & Brownie, Robert Pete Williams, Henry Townsend, and many more.

Pictured: One of the big sellers on the Bluesville line, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Fundraiser link - it’s not too late to help! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-14
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This Week in Blues History - May 13-19


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

“This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Wilbert Harrison, who landed at the top of the R&B charts, this week in 1959 — but created a headache for producer Bobby Robinson.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-14
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Lower Chattahoochee Valley Blues (Hour 2)


George Mitchell stumbled upon the music of the Lower Chattahoochee Valley area — technically, those parts of Alabama and Georgia where the Chattahoochee River first touches the Alabama border, and the 18 to 21 counties (depending upon whose definition you use) that line either side on its way down towards the Florida border — almost by accident. After making field recordings in Atlanta, Mississippi and Memphis, he had finished his master's thesis (which would become the acclaimed book, Blow My Blues Away ), and had accepted a newspaper job in Columbus, Georgia, pretty much in the heart of the Chattahoochee Valley.

He and his wife Cathy decided to take a drive one weekend to see if they could find some blues being played in the area. And as the old saying goes, boy did they ever. As George relates:

"[This was] a very different sound, one that I had never heard before, and one that had never made it to record. I assume this was because Columbus was the poorest area in Georgia, and it was very isolated. It didn't have a freeway connection, the residents didn't travel to Atlanta, and [talent] scouts never went down there. So on weekends and some nights we'd go look for people east and south of Columbus, and we'd usually find at least one person in every town that would play at least a few songs well. Most of them did not have big repertoires.... but there were a lot of people who could play a few songs really well, and could do a lot of songs from this style that no one had really heard of before."

As he had done before, George Mitchell started recording and photographing the blues musicians he encountered. Eventually, some of these recordings slowly but surely made their way onto LPs, books (In Celebration of a Legacy: The Traditional Arts of the Lower Chattahoochee Valley, was originally published in 1981, with a revised edition coming out in 1998 with two CDs of original field recordings), and eventually CDs, when Fat Possum Records started an extensive reissue program. Although some of the performers were reluctant to travel, George Mitchell managed to get some of them onto the stages of local folk festivals, and eventually — in the case of Precious Bryant — the international stage as well.

But Cecil Barfield, whom George thought to be one of his greatest "discoveries," was a colorful figure who was content to stay where he was. Part farmer and part country philosopher, Barfield asked George Mitchell to use only a pseudonym — William Roberston — on recordings of his that were issued in his lifetime (his fear was that money coming in from the recordings would jeopardize the welfare checks that he relied upon for living expenses). He was also superstitious — perhaps to a fault — when Southland Records issued an LP of his material, it appeared without his picture on the cover, because he feared that anyone could turn a photo of him face down and kill him. And of the money that came in for the recording, Mitchell suspects that it was all spent on traditional "root doctors," to help with Barfield's various ailments. Refusing calls to travel overseas for international Blues festivals, Mitchell finally succeeded in getting him up to Columbus, Georgia, just once, for a folk festival. Barfield said he'd been there one time before — in World War II — and apparently didn't see much of a need to go back (another George Mitchell "discovery" from the Lower Chattahoochee was a local fife and drum band tradition in Waverly Hall, Georgia — stunning researchers, who had believed (up until then anyway) — that it was strictly a northern Mississippi tradition).

Colorful figures such as Barfield and engaging performances from a whole host of musicians abound on this episode of Blues Unlimited. Come and join us, then, on a special musical journey as we travel through the Lower Chattahoochee River Valley, and celebrate these legendary field recordings all made by one person — George Mitchell.

For more information about the Lower Chattahooche River Valley, including interviews with George Mitchell, audio samples, and small biographies of the performers, we highly recommend a visit to this informative website which was great help in preparing this program - https://southernspaces.org/2004/blues-lower-chattahoochee-valley

Photo of Jimmy Lee Harris by George Mitchell.

Fundraiser link - it’s not too late to help! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-09
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Lower Chattahoochee Valley Blues (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join us as we explore the legendary field recordings of George Mitchell from the Lower Chattahoochee River Valley of southwestern Georgia and southeastern Alabama. An area historically overlooked by Blues researchers, his recordings are priceless treasures of a region steeped in rich musical culture.

Photo of Jimmy Lee Harris by George Mitchell.

Fundraiser link - it’s not too late to help! https://www.gofundme.com/a-fund-raiser-for-blues-unlimited-radio

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-09
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This Week in Blues History - May 6-12


We apologize for delays this week due to website issues beyond our control at podomatic. Thanks for being patient! --SBH

Announcing “Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 2.” Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/yy5kkgor and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64gdruh

"This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile harmonica wizard Little Walter, who cut "the national anthem of blues harmonica," this week in 1952.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-05-07
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Vinyl Gems from the 1960s (Hour 2)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

On this episode of Blues Unlimited, join us as we explore two rare and long out-of-print LPs from the 1960s. The first, "Living Legends" was recorded for the Verve-Folkways label at the Cafe Au-Go-Go in New York City, and features Bukka White, Skip James, Son House, and Big Joe Williams all captured live in performance, from 1966.

The second, "Ramblin' On My Mind" was issued by Milestone in 1965, and is a collection of songs all related to trains and traveling. Recorded by Pete Welding and Norman Dayron, it features riveting performances by Dr. Ross, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Big Joe Williams, and Johnny Young, as well as a few from some "lesser-knowns" such as John Lee Granderson, Leroy Dallas, Elijah Brown, and James Brewer.

Rounding out the show will be a few selections each from Mississippi Fred McDowell and Robert Pete Williams. One of our favorite LPs from Fred has always been "Long Way From Home," recorded in 1966 in Los Angeles for Milestone, while Robert Pete Williams' "Louisiana Blues," on the Takoma label, has long been a stand-out of his rather impressive body of work.

So sit back and enjoy as we dig into some classic and hard-to-find vinyl gems from the 1960s. On this episode of Blues Unlimited.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-30
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Vinyl Gems from the 1960s (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join us as we explore two rare and long out-of-print LPs from the 1960s. "Living Legends" was recorded live at the Cafe Au-Go-Go in New York City, while "Ramblin' On My Mind" is a collection of songs all related to trains and traveling. Additionally, we'll hear a few selections each from Mississippi Fred McDowell and Robert Pete Williams.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-30
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This Week in Blues History - April 29-May 5


Announcing “Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Volume 2.” Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/yy5kkgor and from Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/y64gdruh

“This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we take a look at one historic day of recording — May 5th, 1937 — that changed the course of blues history.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-29
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Down Home Blues from Chance Records (Hour 2)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join us as we dig into a healthy serving of Down Home Blues from Chance Records — a label owned and operated by Windy City businessman Art Sheridan from 1950 to 1954. During that time they released some spectacularly raw and gritty 78s, from the likes of Homesick James, Arthur “Big Boy” Spires, Willie Nix, J.B. Hutto, and more. It’s Down Home Blues from Chance Records, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: J.B. Hutto’s raucous debut 78, from 1954, which includes a washboard solo played with a pair of spoons. Courtesy of the Big Joe Louis collection.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-23
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Down Home Blues from Chance Records (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join us as we dig into a healthy serving of Down Home Blues from Chance Records — a label owned and operated by Windy City businessman Art Sheridan from 1950 to 1954. During that time they released some spectacularly raw and gritty 78s, from the likes of Homesick James, Arthur “Big Boy” Spires, Willie Nix, J.B. Hutto, and more. It’s Down Home Blues from Chance Records, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: J.B. Hutto’s raucous debut 78, from 1954, which includes a washboard solo played with a pair of spoons. Courtesy of the Big Joe Louis collection.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 170 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-23
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This Week in Blues History - April 22-28


When it made its debut last month, “Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts, Vol. 1” was the #1 NEW RELEASE in Music History & Criticism and also Music Reference — the first new book from from ethnomusicologist, author, historian, and independent radio producer Steve Franz in more than 16 years. Now available in the Amazon Kindle Store at https://tinyurl.com/yxz6dnnu and at Barnes & Noble at http://tinyurl.com/yxedzv5x

"This Week in Blues History” aims the spotlight on important recordings, artists, and events from the golden era of the blues. This time, we profile Sleepy John Estes, who ran into a little difficulty making his way to a recording session in New York City, this week in 1938.

“This Week in Blues History” is available commercial free to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 170 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- that’s over 340 hours worth of entertainment -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-22
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Preachin' the Holy Blues: Field Recordings from Dallas, Texas (1927) (Hour 2)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join as we get into our time machine, and journey back to Dallas, December 1927. That was when Columbia Records became the first major label to make extensive recordings there — on Washington Phillips, Blind Willie Johnson, Coley Jones, Lillian Glinn, and more. In addition, we'll hear from two primary movers and shakers of the Dallas music scene in the late 1920s, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander (a figure that is largely overlooked today).

Closing off the program is a fascinating little footnote from the Rev. William McKinley Dawkins. Included for the sake of "historical accuracy," his performance dates to the fall of 1925, when the OKeh label became the first record company to send a field recording unit to Dallas. As far as we know, he was the only blues or gospel artist recorded during that 1925 trip. Why OKeh didn't record anything further is a puzzle that remains a mystery to this day. It would be another two years before another field recording unit came to town, which would be Columbia, in December 1927.

For the last word, it is given to Blind Willie Johnson's timeless, ethereal masterpiece, "Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground." It was, quite famously, chosen for inclusion on NASA's "Sounds of Earth" golden record that accompanied Voyagers 1 and 2, into outer space. We've been told, by someone of good authority, that when it came time for the committee to select pieces of music for the Voyager project -- that there were no arguments and no discussion when it came to "Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground." The vote was unanimous by the committee.

Join us, then, as we explore some amazing blues and gospel from Dallas — including everything from the fiery and low down to the celestial and the heavenly — on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 150 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-16
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Preachin' the Holy Blues: Field Recordings from Dallas, Texas (1927) (Hour 1)


We’re pleased to say that all three volumes of "Blues Unlimited: The Complete Radio Show Transcripts" have now been published as eBooks! They’re available from Apple Books at https://tinyurl.com/y4rceu7b - Barnes & Noble at https://tinyurl.com/yxkvx6rl - and also available in the Kindle Store from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yyuwxbla (And please keep in mind that every dollar from every purchase will help keep an independent voice in blues radio alive and well! And we thank you!)

Join as we get into our time machine, and journey back to Dallas, December 1927. That was when Columbia Records became the first major label to make extensive recordings there — on Washington Phillips, Blind Willie Johnson, Coley Jones, Lillian Glinn, and more. It’s blues and gospel from Dallas, Texas, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

AND.... ONE MORE WAY YOU CAN HELP -- BECOME A BANDCAMP SUBSCRIBER!

This episode is available commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio exclusively to our subscribers at Bandcamp. Your annual subscription of $27 a year will go directly to support this radio show, and you’ll gain INSTANT DOWNLOAD ACCESS to this and more than 150 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

2019-04-16
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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