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This Week on Blues Unlimited - Studs & Big Bill, Part 2 (Hour 2)
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February 21, 2017 09:23 AM PST
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FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF LOVE, and we’re counting on a little love from you to help keep this podcast going! Your modest pledge will help defray our ongoing expenses and make a world of difference! Details at: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us for part two of our special on the legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy. Things get lively as special guests Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee help Big Bill and Studs discuss the spirituals and the blues; Big Bill pays tribute to some of his old friends during his last-ever recording session; and Pete Seeger and Big Bill tell stories and swap verses on old favorites like "John Henry" and "The Midnight Special." Our host for all this is Studs Terkel, the preeminent author, broadcaster, and oral historian of the 20th Century.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/zpcyksf

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

This Week on Blues Unlimited - Studs & Big Bill, Part 2 (Hour 1)
Clean
February 21, 2017 09:15 AM PST
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FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF LOVE, and we’re counting on a little love from you to help keep this podcast going! Your modest pledge will help defray our ongoing expenses and make a world of difference! Details at: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us for part two of our special on the legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy. Things get lively as special guests Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee help Big Bill and Studs discuss the spirituals and the blues; Big Bill pays tribute to some of his old friends during his last-ever recording session; and Pete Seeger and Big Bill tell stories and swap verses on old favorites like "John Henry" and "The Midnight Special." Our host for all this is Studs Terkel, the preeminent author, broadcaster, and oral historian of the 20th Century.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/j96ahag

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Studs & Big Bill, Part 1 (Hour 2)
Clean
February 14, 2017 08:28 AM PST
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PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK to help keep this podcast going. We’re depending on you!!! http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

What do you get when you take one of the foremost oral historians of the 20th century, and sit him down with one of the most beloved blues musicians of all time? The legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy, which took place over a period of several years, between 1954 and 1957. Luckily for us, some of these were captured for the sake of posterity at the WFMT radio studios (where Studs hosted a daily radio show for almost half a century), finding eventual issue on the Folkways Record label. A box set of his last recording sessions, “The Big Bill Broonzy Story,” also featured music and additional dialogue between these two iconic figures, and fast friends.

As for Studs, he always seems to ever so gently guide the proceedings, while clearly taking delight in what transpires. Although he never appears to be intrusive, he does occasionally stop to ask a question, if it seems that some minor point needs clarifying. As for Big Bill, he seems most intent on telling his story — his truth, as it were — so that the events and details of his life could be shared and remembered. So that we could know, firsthand, what it was like to be a blues musician or a railroad porter, a short order cook or a plowhand, a janitor or a dishwasher, or to work on a levee camp — in other words, too many to count. But as Big Bill later reveals, to have the blues, you had to have lived that life. And in turn, everything that Big Bill was or ever did, became the very fuel and fodder for the hundreds of blues songs he wrote and sang over the decades.

Although it’s hard to know exactly how to describe what you’re about to hear over the next couple of programs, suffice it to say that we find two men — each of whom has great respect and admiration for the other — engaged in a fascinating and compelling dialogue. One that is coupled with an underlying and ever so faint sense of urgency. To try and get the story out before it’s too late.

The week after Big Bill’s last recording sessions, in July 1957, he underwent surgery for lung cancer. He’d had a rather worrying hunch about it, one that he confided to Studs. He told him he was afraid they were going to cut his vocal cords. Studs tried to reassure him, saying it wasn’t his throat they were after, it was the lung. “But the knife....” he told Studs. But the knife....

Big Bill Broonzy passed away one rainy and stormy August morning in Chicago, in 1958. As Studs later put it, it was just one more storm this Big Man was passing through.

After interviewing thousands of people around the world and authoring countless books, Studs Terkel passed away at the age of 96, in October 2008. And while it’s hard to grasp the enormity of his lifetime of achievement — being, as it were, the ears to the world — there remains something extraordinarily special about those times that two old friends, Studs and Big Bill, sat down in front of a microphone and talked about the blues. One of them had a guitar in his hands. The other kept an eye on the ever-revolving spool of audio tape. And what transpired between them, it’s fairly safe to say, will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of blues fans.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/jro9kpr

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Studs & Big Bill, Part 1 (Hour 1)
Clean
February 14, 2017 08:11 AM PST
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PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK to help keep this podcast going. We’re depending on you!!! http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we take an extended look at the legendary interviews of Studs Terkel and Big Bill Broonzy. We’ll hear stories, conversation and song, along with special guests Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/j66dcgf

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Hot Wax & Down Home Classics from Checker Records (1952-1953) (Hour 2)
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February 07, 2017 07:25 AM PST
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HEY FOLKS!

IF YOU LOVE THIS PODCAST, THEN PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING BACK A LITTLE. EVEN A MODEST DONATION OF $2 A MONTH WILL HELP DEFRAY OUR CONSIDERABLE EXPENSES. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we take an in-depth look at the early days of the Checker label — an important subsidiary imprint of the legendary Chess family of labels. Not too long after Phil and Leonard formally launched Chess Records in 1950 (which picked up on the heels of where Aristocrat — the Chess brothers' first label — left off), they started operations at Checker. Although Chess is deservedly famous for it's all-star lineup of blues giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Checker would come to be known as the home label to artists like Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Milton. Little Walter is our “man of the hour” (whose frequent releases brought early success to the label), and we’ll explore some of the spectacular down home blues they issued, from John Brim, Elmore James, Willie Nix, Morris Pejoe, Woodrow Adams, Arthur "Big Boy" Spires, and more.

Pictured: Recorded in May 1952, “Juke” became a huge number one hit for Little Walter, when it climbed to the top of the R&B charts later that year.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/h9xshzu

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Hot Wax & Down Home Classics from Checker Records (1952-1953) (Hour 1)
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February 07, 2017 07:18 AM PST
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HEY FOLKS!

IF EVERYBODY WHO LISTENED to this podcast donated just $2 a month (the price of a cup of coffee), we wouldn't have to have a fund-raiser! Here's how YOU can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we put the Checker label in the spotlight. Started by Phil and Leonard Chess as a subsidiary imprint in 1952, Checker issued some spectacular down home blues, and was also the home label to harmonica wizard Little Walter — who went straight to the top of the R&B charts with his smash hit, "Juke." Join us for an in depth look at the first couple years of the Checker label, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Recorded in May 1952, “Juke” became a huge number one hit for Little Walter, when it climbed to the top of the R&B charts later that year.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/zqxpx3f

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Blues from San Antonio, 1929-1938 (Hour 2)
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January 31, 2017 10:51 AM PST
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HEY FOLKS!

IF YOU LOVE THIS PODCAST, THEN PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING BACK A LITTLE. EVEN A MODEST DONATION OF $2 A MONTH WILL HELP DEFRAY OUR CONSIDERABLE EXPENSES. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

In the mid to late 1920s, once the major record companies discovered that there was an appetite with the record buying public for Blues -- and when you consider the popularity of artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Country Blues in particular -- they set off for destinations such as Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Dallas, in search of new talent and the next big hit. One of their regular stops on the circuit was San Antonio, which saw field recording units arrive as early as 1928, when sessions were held on Lonnie Johnson and Texas Alexander -- two big stars in the OKeh catalog back in those days.

Typically, they would set up shop at a local hotel -- the Peabody in Memphis was one popular recording spot, for instance -- with the Blue Bonnet Hotel and the Texas Hotel being two establishments utilized by the folks at RCA Victor and their Bluebird subsidiary while in San Antonio. Another advantage was the fact that a piano could be found there -- almost a necessity, when you consider the rich tradition of Piano Blues in Texas during the pre-war years.

Vocalist Joe Pullum and pianist Robert Cooper were paired up in the studio for their initial sessions, in 1934 and 1935, resulting in a big hit for Pullum, with "Black Gal, What Makes Your Head So Hard?" It made him a household name in Houston, with regular appearances on the radio.

Some of the other keyboardists being featured on tonight's program weren't quite so lucky, however. Alfoncy Harris may be the same person who recorded with Blind Willie McTell towards the end of 1929, while Big Boy Knox -- based solely on the lyrics to his song "Texas Blues" -- might very well have originally come to Houston by way of Louisiana. Andy Boy (his actual given name) was recalled as one of the top piano men in Galveston, but after recording eight titles of his own, as well as accompanying Joe Pullum and Walter "Cowboy" Washington (the latter recalled as a real-life cowpoke who frequented the sea-front taverns of Galveston), he fell off the radar screen, last rumored to have headed north in the 1950s for greener musical pastures in Kansas City.

Pianists like Son Becky worked the well-established "Barrelhouse Piano Circuit" from his original hometown of Wharton, Texas (a short trip down U.S. Route 59, on the way towards Victoria), on up through Houston, and into the Texarkana area as well, while Frank Tannehill (ten titles recorded for ARC and Bluebird) was thought to have been based in Dallas. Connie "Pinetop" Burks and Black Boy Shine (real name: Harold Holiday) were both apparently based in Houston, with "Dog House Blues" a tribute to a local 4th Ward Houston hangout that served soup and sandwiches to out of work piano players, during the lean, hard years of the Great Depression. And as a bonus, if you were lucky enough to catch one of the stray rabbits hopping through the nearby vacant lots, they'd cook it and fix it for you (be sure to listen for the reference in his song).

One person in particular, however, managed to outshadow almost every other musician on the program tonight. Robert Johnson, who was called to San Antonio to make his recording debut during Thanksgiving week, 1936, didn't return to Mississippi until he'd waxed almost two dozen sides. By any measure, it was an auspicious beginning, leaving the company impressed enough to recall him the following summer for another session -- this time in Dallas, which would turn out to be his last.

As the 1930s wound to a close and the 1940s began, the major labels likewise began winding down the field trips that had seen them recording such rich and varied talent. The American Record Corporation made two final trips to Dallas -- one in the summer of 1939, the other in May 1940, while Decca, a relative late-comer to the game that had never recorded much in the field anyway, made one trip to Dallas in April 1941. RCA Victor, along with their Bluebird subsidiary, made two trips in 1941, one to Dallas in April and one to Atlanta in October. With World War II looming on the horizon, things were changing. Never again would a major company send field recording units on trips to faraway cities for weeks or even months at a time, making the Blues that were recorded in San Antonio during the late 1920s and 1930s -- and the rich legacy of Texas Piano Blues -- the product of a bygone, forgotten era.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/haurolm

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Blues from San Antonio, 1929-1938 (Hour 1)
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January 31, 2017 10:45 AM PST
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HEY FOLKS!

IF YOU LOVE THIS PODCAST, THEN PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING BACK A LITTLE. EVEN A MODEST DONATION OF $2 A MONTH WILL HELP DEFRAY OUR CONSIDERABLE EXPENSES. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we're cranking up our time machine, and setting the dial for San Antonio in the late 1920s and 1930s. One of the regular destinations on the field recording circuit, all of the major labels made records there, including some fine piano players from Texas, along with Delta guitar legend Robert Johnson. It’s Blues from San Antonio, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/j86ddl7

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Lowdown Backwoods Harmonica Jam (Hour 2)
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January 24, 2017 06:27 AM PST
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DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?

Hey folks! We need your help! More people than ever are tuning in to hear ol’ Sleepy Boy, and we think that’s a good thing. But, it also means that our costs for bringing this to you every single week have increased too.... to GUARANTEE we’ll have an episode for you to listen to every single week, how about showing us a little love, and making a modest donation.... $2 a month is all we ask, but if you’re feeling grateful and generous, you can always give a little more. As always, thanks for tuning in, and helping make all of this possible! Just follow this link to make your donation: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

We've taken a whole great gob of our favorite down home country blues harmonica blowers, and lined them up for one incredible episode we're calling a "Lowdown Backwoods Harmonica Jam." Music from Papa Lightfoot, Sam Myers, Buster Brown, Johnny Woods, Whispering Smith, and more.

Pictured: Photo of Johnny Woods courtesy of Center for Southern Folklore Archives. Photographer unknown.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/guw4x7u

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

Previously on Blues Unlimited - Lowdown Backwoods Harmonica Jam (Hour 1)
Clean
January 24, 2017 06:21 AM PST
itunes pic

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?

Hey folks! We need your help! More people than ever are tuning in to hear ol’ Sleepy Boy, and we think that’s a good thing. But, it also means that our costs for bringing this to you every single week have increased too.... to GUARANTEE we’ll have an episode for you to listen to every single week, how about showing us a little love, and making a modest donation.... $2 a month is all we ask, but if you’re feeling grateful and generous, you can always give a little more. As always, thanks for tuning in, and helping make all of this possible! Just follow this link to make your donation: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

We've taken a whole great gob of our favorite down home country blues harmonica blowers, and lined them up for one incredible episode we're calling a "Lowdown Backwoods Harmonica Jam." Music from Papa Lightfoot, Sam Myers, Buster Brown, Johnny Woods, Whispering Smith, and more.

Pictured: Photo of Johnny Woods courtesy of Center for Southern Folklore Archives. Photographer unknown.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/guw4x7u

Don't forget to install the PodOmatic Podcast Player app for iOS so you can listen to Sleepy Boy Hawkins wherever you go! Details at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podomatic/id648258566?mt=8

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