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This Week on NPR - A Tribute to “The Chairman of the Board”: B.B. King’s Biggest Hits (Hr 2)
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June 29, 2015 12:24 PM PDT
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Well blues lovers, we're off for a mini vacation, but we'll be back early next week. "Throwback Thursday" will take the week off to help celebrate Independence Day, so we'll resume with our special look at the Newport Folk Festival a week from now. More goodies than you can possibly know await you, as we have not one but TWO extra special brand-new episodes in the works. And look for the next installment of "This Week on NPR" about this time next week. As always, thanks for tuning in, please tell your neighbor about us, and good listenin' to ya! --SBH

Join us as we celebrate the life and music of B.B. King, by counting down the biggest hits of his career. Spanning the course of four decades, we’ve compiled a list of 29 songs that define the man, and his music. A tribute to “The Chairman of the Board” — on this episode of Blues Unlimited. (NOTE: this special "Producer's Cut" contains extra material NOT included in regular the broadcast version!)

This Week on NPR - A Tribute to “The Chairman of the Board”: B.B. King’s Biggest Hits (Hr 1)
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June 29, 2015 12:11 PM PDT
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OUR BIG NEWS these days is that Blues Unlimited is now being distributed through NPR's in-house system (called "Content Depot"), with the hopes that more radio stations than ever will start picking it up. As a public service to our listeners everywhere, each week, we'll also post that episode here as well. In the meantime, PLEASE TELL YOUR LOCAL RADIO STATION THAT BLUES UNLIMITED IS NOW AVAILABLE FROM NPR! We operate primarily by word of mouth, and every little bit helps! As always, thanks for tuning us in, and hope you enjoy this week's EXTRA SPECIAL episode -- our tribute to the "King of the Blues." --SBH

Join us as we celebrate the life and music of B.B. King, by counting down the biggest hits of his career. Spanning the course of four decades, we’ve compiled a list of 29 songs that define the man, and his music. A tribute to “The Chairman of the Board” — on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: B.B. King's very first LP, which contained all four of his number one R&B hit records.

The Candid Records Blues Sessions, Hour 2
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June 25, 2015 07:33 AM PDT
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Join us as we take a look at the recordings that Memphis Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Otis Spann made in New York City for the Candid label in 1960 and 1961. Plus, we'll hear selections from a rare and fascinating LP of field recordings made in the greater Houston area by legendary song hunter, Mack McCormick. It's blues from Candid Records, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

The Candid Records Blues Sessions, Hour 1
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June 25, 2015 07:21 AM PDT
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Join us as we take a look at the recordings that Memphis Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Otis Spann made in New York City for the Candid label in 1960 and 1961. Plus, we'll hear selections from a rare and fascinating LP of field recordings made in the greater Houston area by legendary song hunter, Mack McCormick. It's blues from Candid Records, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Legends of Bluesville, Part 5: Blues from St. Louis, Hour 2
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May 28, 2015 03:37 AM PDT
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Join us for another installment of our ongoing series, "The Legends of Bluesville." This time around, we’re going to St. Louis, to hear from Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams, Daddy Hotcakes, Roosevelt Sykes, Henry Brown and more. It’s "The Legends of Bluesville," on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Another classic from Bluesville, Henry Townsend's LP for the label is a super-rarity today.

Legends of Bluesville, Part 5: Blues from St. Louis, Hour 1
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May 28, 2015 03:20 AM PDT
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Join us for another installment of our ongoing series, "The Legends of Bluesville." This time around, we’re going to St. Louis, to hear from Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams, Daddy Hotcakes, Roosevelt Sykes, Henry Brown and more. It’s "The Legends of Bluesville," on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Slated for release as Bluesville LP 1078, it was withdrawn and never issued; the label would only issue eight more LPs before ceasing production. It was later issued by Folkways as part two of a three-part series, "The Blues in St. Louis."

The King of Distortion: Pat Hare & His Killer Guitar (1952-1960), Hour 2
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May 07, 2015 01:58 PM PDT
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Join us as we pay tribute to a firebrand guitarist, Pat Hare. Joining up with Howlin’ Wolf when he was just a teenager, he went on to record with James Cotton, Junior Parker, and Muddy Waters, among others — leaving a distinct and influential mark on the Blues world. It’s a tribute to Pat Hare, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: James Cotton and Pat Hare (with guitar), in better times. Photo by Jacques Demêtre, 1959, Chicago.

The King of Distortion: Pat Hare & His Killer Guitar (1952-1960), Hour 1
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May 07, 2015 01:40 PM PDT
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Well folks, yeah, we're a little late for "Throwback Thursday," but thought that this time around, we'll pull a fast one on ya', and actually toss out a BRAND SPANKIN' NEW EPISODE instead of yet another recycled one. This one's been cooking on the back burner for a spell, so we thought the time was ripe to serve it up, nice and piping hot! Enjoy!!!

Join us as we pay tribute to a firebrand guitarist, Pat Hare. Joining up with Howlin’ Wolf when he was just a teenager, he went on to record with James Cotton, Junior Parker, and Muddy Waters, among others — leaving a distinct and influential mark on the Blues world. It’s a tribute to Pat Hare, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Pat Hare. Photo by George Adins, 1959, Chicago.

Preachin' the Holy Blues: Field Recordings from Dallas, Texas (1927), Hour 2
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April 16, 2015 08:05 AM PDT
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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.

Preachin' the Holy Blues: Field Recordings from Dallas, Texas (1927), Hour 1
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April 16, 2015 07:45 AM PDT
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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.

Pictured: Texas Alexander, largely forgotten today, was such a popular seller that he was one of the few artists to collect royalties from the sale of his records.

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