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Live at Tipitina's: Rockin' the House Down in New Orleans, Hour 2
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October 17, 2014 08:27 AM PDT
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Join us as we head down to Tipitina's in New Orleans, for a great big helping of live blues and house-rockin' gumbo — served up piping hot by the good folks at Black Top Records. On tap, we’ve got Hubert Sumlin, Sam Myers, Grady Gaines, Nappy Brown, Earl King, Snooks Eaglin, and many more! We're rockin' down in New Orleans, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Live at Tipitina's: Rockin' the House Down in New Orleans, Hour 1
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October 17, 2014 07:36 AM PDT
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Well folks, we will be off the radar screen for the next week or two, so.... here's another episode a bit early to "tide you over" and help keep body and soul together while we're away. Maybe you could try and savor it and make it last.... don't be like when you were a kid eating all your Halloween candy the same night, now! Have a little bit each day, that kind of thing. We've also got a couple of real corkers on tap for ya' when we get back, and remember - no Throwback Thursday next week - but a very special treat the week after next. As always, thanks for tuning in and turning on. Yours in the blues always.... --SBH

Join us as we head down to Tipitina's in New Orleans, for a great big helping of live blues and house-rockin' gumbo — served up piping hot by the good folks at Black Top Records. On tap, we’ve got Hubert Sumlin, Sam Myers, Grady Gaines, Nappy Brown, Earl King, Snooks Eaglin, and many more! Plus... we'll have a couple of mini-tributes to two legendary vocalists — Bobby "Blue" Bland and Little Junior Parker. We're rockin' down in New Orleans, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: New Orleans' one and only Tipitina's

Big Blues from Little Labels: Down Home Favorites from the Lone Star State, Hour 2
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October 08, 2014 09:22 AM PDT
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We take a look at some killer down home blues from the great state of Texas — all of it from small, independent record labels in operation during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Some of them issued a couple dozen 78s, while others are barely more than a footnote in blues history — putting out just one or two. Join us as we take a journey into the independent spirit of postwar Texas country blues, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Frankie Lee Sims, making his recording debut on Texas' very own Blue Bonnet label, in 1948.

Big Blues from Little Labels: Down Home Favorites from the Lone Star State, Hour 1
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October 08, 2014 08:48 AM PDT
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We take a look at some killer down home blues from the great state of Texas — all of it from small, independent record labels in operation during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Some of them issued a couple dozen 78s, while others are barely more than a footnote in blues history — putting out just one or two. Join us as we take a journey into the independent spirit of postwar Texas country blues, on this episode of Blues Unlimited. Includes music from Frankie Lee Sims, Willie Lane, Ernest "Buddy" Lewis, Smokey Hogg, Lightnin' Hopkins, and many more.

Pictured: The Jedi Master of Texas Country Blues, Lightnin' Hopkins.

The Blues Came Down at Midnight, Hour 2
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September 30, 2014 03:51 AM PDT
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Join us as we explore blues songs that all have to deal with the subject of midnight. Sometimes, you get midnight showers of rain, other times, it's the blues that come down at midnight. You might be out late having fun with your friends, doing the "Midnight Jump" or the "Midnight Boogie," or you might be sad and lonely, because your baby left you at midnight. It's all about having the blues at midnight, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Big Bill Broonzy, who likes to go steppin' out at Midnight.

The Blues Came Down at Midnight, Hour 1
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September 30, 2014 03:14 AM PDT
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Join us as we explore blues songs that all have to deal with the subject of midnight. Sometimes, you get midnight showers of rain, other times, it's the blues that come down at midnight. You might be out late having fun with your friends, doing the "Midnight Jump" or the "Midnight Boogie," or you might be sad and lonely, because your baby left you at midnight. Classics, gems, and rarities galore from Leadbelly, Leroy Carr, Bessie Smith, Big Bill Broonzy, T-Bone Walker, Little Willie Littlefield, Lowell Fulson, Roy Brown, and many more!

Pictured: From 1927, "The Midnight Special" by Crying Sam Collins; the first known version of this enduring favorite to be recorded by a blues artist.

(It Was) Really! The Country Blues (That) Fell This Morning: LP Classics from the Birth of the Blues Revival, Hour 2
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September 18, 2014 08:45 AM PDT
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If you're curious about where the Blues Revival of the 1960s got its start, you might want to take a look at "The Country Blues," from 1959, "Blues Fell This Morning," from 1960, and "Really! The Country Blues," from 1962. It's three classic slabs of vinyl from the very advent of the Blues Revival — on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Following closely on the heels of "The Country Blues," was Paul Oliver's "Blues Fell This Morning." Due to a quirk of history -- a printer's strike in England at the time -- it would have been the world's first blues book. Instead, it's publication was delayed until 1960.

(It Was) Really! The Country Blues (That) Fell This Morning: LP Classics from the Birth of the Blues Revival, Hour 1
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September 18, 2014 08:18 AM PDT
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If you're curious about where the Blues Revival of the 1960s got its start, you might want to take a look at "The Country Blues," from 1959, "Blues Fell This Morning," from 1960, and "Really! The Country Blues," from 1962. While the first two were designed as audio companions to groundbreaking books of the same name — by Sam Charters and Paul Oliver, respectively — the third one, from Origin Jazz Library, was conceived, apparently, as a deliberate act of "one upmanship" over Sam Charters (Pete Whelan, one of the founders of OJL, later complained that the country blues Charters had written about hadn't quite been "real enough"). Each of them, in their own way, were highly influential when they came out — and in no small part, helped to spark the Blues Revival of the 1960s. Join us then, as we celebrate three classic slabs of vinyl from the very advent of the Blues Revival — on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Issued 1959, "The Country Blues" was a groundbreaking work by Sam Charters. The next year, Paul Oliver followed with "Blues Fell This Morning."

Legends of Bluesville, Part 3: West Coast Blues & Folk, Hour 2
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September 18, 2014 06:54 AM PDT
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Join us as we continue our look at the legends of Bluesville, this time from the West Coast. That includes music from piano man Mercy Dee Walton, harmonica blower Sidney Maiden, guitarist K.C. Douglas, and one-man-band, Jesse Fuller. It's the legends of Bluesville, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Another standout from the Bluesville catalog, "Trouble An' Blues," by Sidney Maiden.

Legends of Bluesville, Part 3: West Coast Blues & Folk, Hour 1
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September 18, 2014 06:28 AM PDT
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Although Mercy Dee Walton, Sidney Maiden, and K.C. Douglas all recorded LPs for the Bluesville label (Douglas had two, in fact), for this West Coast edition of the "Legends of Bluesville," we had to bend the rules just a bit for Jesse Fuller, who recorded two LPs for Bluesville's sister imprint Prestige, and three for the Good Time Jazz label. These days, Good Time Jazz, Prestige, and Bluesville all fall under the umbrella of Fantasy Records, having been purchased eons ago — so, perhaps it's all a moot point anyway. In any event, we've got an exciting and innovative group of musicians lined up for the program, including the much celebrated one-man-band, Jesse Fuller.

His nickname was "The Lone Cat," and he certainly cut a formidable figure, playing the 12-string guitar, harmonica, kazoo, hi-hat, and his homemade foot-operated bass contraption, the "Fotdella" — all at the same time. On the label of his Good Time Jazz 45's — just in case anyone in the listening audience was skeptical — it bore this fascinating disclaimer: "Jesse Fuller sings and accompanies himself simultaneously on bass, drums, 12-string guitar, harmonica and kazoo. You hear him in actual performance. No over-dubbing or electronic tricks were used to make this unbelievable recording." Jesse Fuller's big hit, of course, was "San Francisco Bay Blues," which he recorded a number of times, and we might add — spent a LOT of time on the turntables of folk and blues enthusiasts in the 1950s and '60s.

K.C. Douglas had roots going back to Mississippi; he could lay claim to no less a mentor than the great Tommy Johnson, with whom he played in the 1940s. Sidney Maiden hailed from Louisiana, while Mercy Dee was part of the deep and proud tradition of Texas Piano Blues. Eventually, they all made their way to California — Mercy Dee describes this experience vividly in his magnum opus, "Mercy's Troubles" — where they all made their recording debut in the late 1940s.

Sadly, Mercy Dee passed away not too long after cutting "Pity And A Shame," his LP for Bluesville. It's not hard to imagine what a big hit he would have been on the Blues Revival circuit, charming audiences with his keen sense of irony and acerbic wit. K.C. Douglas lived on until the mid 1970s, cutting further sides for Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie label (it had, in fact, been Strachwitz that recorded these three gentleman for Bluesville. A small portion of the material that Bluesville did not end up using at the time later saw issue on Arhoolie, thankfully — some of which we've utilized here). As for Sidney Maiden, he reportedly married a young bride, and spent time between Fresno, California, and Arizona, where he presumably died in the late 1980s.

As for Jesse Fuller, well, all we can say is that they definitely broke the mold when they made him. Not since his passing, in 1976, has anyone been able to match his enthusiastic singing and playing, or the ease with which he simultaneously mastered a small cadre of instruments.

Although our list of artists ended up being a fairly short one for this installment of our "Legends of Bluesville" series, we hope you enjoy the diverse talent on offer from this celebrated and much beloved group of musicians — all of whom made an indelible and lasting mark on the Blues world.

Pictured: One Man Band, Jesse Fuller.

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