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This Week on BU - Music from the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival (Hour 2)
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November 14, 2017 03:39 PM PST
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we head down to the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. We’ll hear from a number of legends, such as Roosevelt Sykes, Houston Stackhouse and Joe Willie Wilkins, Big Walter Horton, and Hound Dog Taylor.

To hear this episode commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/y8qbwrla

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

NOTE: We chose this poster because of how cool we thought it was, and also because it nicely matched the one from 1972 — and not because of Ray Charles (who does not actually appear in this episode).

This Week on BU - Music from the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival (Hour 1)
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November 14, 2017 03:31 PM PST
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we head down to the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. We’ll hear from a number of legends, such as Roosevelt Sykes, Houston Stackhouse and Joe Willie Wilkins, Big Walter Horton, and Hound Dog Taylor.

To hear this episode commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/y9e5439r

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

NOTE: We chose this poster because of how cool we thought it was, and also because it nicely matched the one from 1972 — and not because of Ray Charles (who does not actually appear in this episode).

Previously on BU - Dark Muddy Bottom: 1950s Down Home Country Blues from Specialty Records (Hour 2)
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November 07, 2017 03:27 PM PST
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Although most people might think of sophisticated West Coast R&B, Gospel Groups like Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, or even Little Richard when it comes to Specialty — the legendary Los Angeles record label founded by Art Rupe in 1946 — the truth is they also cut some killer down home country blues in the early to mid 1950s. We'll be digging into that rich vein of material on this episode, largely focusing on the original 45 and 78 rpm singles issued on Specialty and also Fidelity — a short-lived subsidiary imprint that issued about a dozen sides.

In addition to hearing a few cuts from Frankie Lee Sims and Clifton Chenier — two of our all-time favorites — we’re really excited to also dig into a legendary LP that came out in 1972, called "Dark Muddy Bottom Blues." It’s a five-star item that belongs in any blues lover’s collection, and was compiled (largely of rare outtakes, we might add) by one time Specialty staff member Barret Hansen — perhaps better known to the world as radio legend Doctor Demento.

Although the down home material on Specialty did not make up a very large percentage of their overall output, what they did record — like pretty much everything else on Specialty — was top notch. And as we "go to press" (so to speak) with this episode, we still have with us label owner Art Rupe to thank, as well as Barret Hansen, who retrieved a lot of this material out of the Specialty archives in the early 1970s. We give a "BU Tip o' the Hat" to each of them for their work behind the scenes in bringing us these fine down home performances.

Pictured: Also featured on this episode, a legendary slice of vinyl from the Specialty archives; compiled by Barret Hansen in 1972.

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 BU - Dark Muddy Bottom: 1950s Down Home Country Blues from Specialty Records (Hour 1)
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November 07, 2017 02:06 PM PST
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Hello friends! We're a little late getting this one up and running... your pal and mine, ol' Sleepy Boy, has been down for the count for a few days. We're about halfway through a brand new episode that's sure to be a crowd pleaser... so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, thanks for all your love and support! --SBH

Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us for some terrific Down Home Country Blues from Specialty Records. In addition to Frankie Lee Sims and Clifton Chenier — two of our all-time favorites — we’ll also be featuring a legendary LP, "Dark Muddy Bottom Blues." Down Home Blues from Specialty, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: Also featured on this episode, a legendary slice of vinyl from the Specialty archives; compiled by Barret Hansen in 1972.

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 BU - New Orleans Piano (Hour 2)
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October 31, 2017 08:16 AM PDT
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us for two great hours of piano blues from New Orleans. From classic R&B party favorites to keyboard legends like Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Allen Toussaint, Blues Unlimited celebrates the art and artistry of New Orleans piano.

To hear this episode commercial free and in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/y9wh5gck

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 BU - New Orleans Piano (Hour 1)
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October 31, 2017 08:08 AM PDT
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Note: With the passing of New Orleans music legend Fats Domino last week, we thought we'd dust off this old favorite from the archives. Enjoy! --SBH

Think of New Orleans and you might think of the French Quarter, the distinctive cuisine they're justifiably famous for, the seemingly constant 24/7 party atmosphere, or strolling downtown by the Mighty Mississippi. But think of New Orleans for too long and you're bound to think of perhaps one thing -- the great music that's emanated from there, virtually non-stop, since the early days of the last century. And if you think of New Orleans music, sooner or later you're bound to think of some of the great keyboard legends that the city has known -- Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Champion Jack Dupree, Paul Gayten, Allen Toussaint, and many many more. In this episode of Blues Unlimited, we explore that rich vein of talent in a special episode dedicated to the art and artistry of New Orleans piano, taking a look at some of the great moments and huge R&B hits the Crescent City produced over the years.

To hear this episode in its original full-fidelity high quality audio, it may be downloaded from Bandcamp at: http://tinyurl.com/yc5x5sef

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

Unsung Heroes of St. Louis Blues (Hour 2)
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October 24, 2017 10:10 AM PDT
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

St. Louis, located near the southern end of the central Midwest, for many blues musicians making the trek north from Mississippi to Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s, was simply a stopping over point before continuing their journey. For others, such as the musicians being featured on this program, St. Louis was their home, and where they spent the bulk of their career. Unfortunately, unlike Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, or New York, the River City was never a major recording center — and without a successful independent label like Atlantic, Chess, Stax, or Sun — opportunities to record were few and far in between. For a talented artist like James De Shay, who we find here captured by a BBC film crew in 1976, the opportunity to record commercially never came at all, while harmonica blower Doc Terry finally ended up cutting a few singles on his very own D.T.P. label in the early 1970s. Johnnie Johnson, of course, might be the most well-known name on the roster here, thanks to his long association with Chuck Berry — who found success in Chicago thanks to a tip from Muddy Waters, who told him to go see Phil and Leonard Chess (the rest, as they say, is history). Tommy Bankhead also came up from Mississippi, along the way, playing with a Who’s Who of blues legends that would make anyone envious today. Bennie Smith, on the other hand, was a St. Louis native who became a mentor to so many other budding electric guitarists, it’s hard to count them all. Among his students was Ike Turner, who we plan on profiling in a future episode. Pianist Clayton Love, it turns out, was a friend of Ike Turner, going back to their days in Clarksdale, first recording together in 1954 for Modern, and again in 1957 for the Federal imprint, in Cincinnati. Like Turner, Oliver Sain was another master craftsman who called St. Louis his home, descending from an impressive blues lineage. Not only was Dan Sane his grandfather (musical partner of the legendary Memphis guitarist Frank Stokes and one-half of the musical duo, the Beale Street Sheiks), but his step-father was also Willie Love, who recorded with Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson for Trumpet in the early 1950s. Sain, in turn, wore so many musical hats, it almost defies belief: multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, bandleader, producer, music publisher, and owner of a recording studio. Ironically, it was a random sample from one of his 45s, by a famous rap group, that brought him the greatest financial success of his career. At the other end of the spectrum, we find the obscure Guitar Tommy Moore, cutting a bona fide St. Louis classic in 1964. The label, Ultrasonic, was one of many owned by Gabriel — a famous disk jockey, who, as of this writing, can still be found plying his trade over the airwaves of his hometown. Blues expert Jim O’Neal has spent fruitless hours trying to track down the elusive Moore, with Gabriel saying all that he remembers about Moore, at this late date, is that he looked like Benny Hill. As they say, you can’t really make this stuff up.

St. Louis was home to many talented musicians, and on this episode of Blues Unlimited, we pay tribute to a handful of them.

Special thanks to our good friend, radio colleague and fellow blues-lover Tony C., for help and assistance in preparing this program.

Pictured: The hands of St. Louis guitarist Bennie Smith. Photo by Bill Greensmith. Inset: A St. Louis classic from Guitar Tommy Moore.

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

Unsung Heroes of St. Louis Blues (Hour 1)
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October 24, 2017 09:56 AM PDT
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Your support is critical now, more than ever! Here’s how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we journey to St. Louis, and celebrate some of the talented musicians that called the River City their home. We'll hear modern classics and vintage rarities from Oliver Sain, Johnnie Johnson, Bennie Smith, Clayton Love, and a whole lot more. This is one episode you don't want to miss! It's the unsung heroes of St. Louis Blues, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: The hands of St. Louis guitarist Bennie Smith. Photo by Bill Greensmith. Inset: A St. Louis classic from Guitar Tommy Moore.

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

Tribute to an Enigma: The Blues Guitar of Lee Cooper (Hour 2)
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October 17, 2017 12:45 PM PDT
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Here’s a link you can follow to help keep this podcast alive and well! And we thank you! http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Not exactly a household name, Echford "Lee" Cooper was a talented guitarist, whose session work revealed a skilled musician who was capable of playing just about anything — at least according to Eddie Boyd, who worked and recorded with him extensively.

Thanks to some ace detective work by Bob Eagle and Jim O'Neal, it would appear that Lee Cooper was born around 1924 or ‘25, with the 1930 and 1940 census noting his residence as Lexington, Mississippi.

Just five short years later, his photo appeared in the Chicago Defender, listed as a guitarist with the Hi-De-Ho Boys. It was a Jazz group that had been founded in Saint Louis by guitarist Lefty Bates — while he was still in high school — and in 1936, the group moved north to the Windy City, made some records for Decca, and took up a long-standing residency at the Club DeLisa. It seems likely that after Bates had to leave the group to serve in World War II, that it was Lee Cooper who took his place.

Our main source of information on Cooper comes from Eddie Boyd, who was interviewed for Blues Unlimited magazine, and also by Jim O’Neal and Amy van Singel for Living Blues. He stated that Cooper was capable of playing just about anything from Charlie Parker to John Lee Hooker, and his comments reveal admiration for a talented guitarist and gifted musician who was capable of sight reading sheet music and playing it without rehearsal. He also commented that Cooper played Jazz with another popular combo — Zip, Zap & Zoe, and also drummer Kansas City Red.

Most curiously, Eddie Boyd also reveals that Cooper had lost an eye due to an accident during a chemistry experiment. According to Boyd, Cooper was highly educated, apparently having studied chemistry while in college. He noted that the loss of an eye hadn’t handicapped Cooper in any way, but it was, instead, a fondness for drink that lead to his apparent downfall, and early demise. Although an exact date of death has not yet been determined, Bob Eagle has given us an estimate of about 1966. This seems to coincide with information given by Eddie Boyd in his 1971 Blues Unlimited interview, by which time, he noted, Cooper had already passed.

In another curious footnote, two men, Frank Brassel and Echford Cooper, were murdered in April 2011, in an apparently robbery gone awry. Sharing a home together, the two were football coaches for a youth league in the Chicago area. Given his unique name and date of birth (1965), this Cooper was almost certainly the son of the featured guitarist on tonight’s program, and undoubtedly could have filled in a few of the missing details for us about his father’s life, and work as a musician.

Fortunately, Lee Cooper’s distinctive and highly memorable guitar work, during his early to mid 1950s session work, is a legacy that won’t be forgotten anytime soon — even if a lot of the other details about his life, so far, have eluded us.

Pictured: one of our favorites from Washboard Sam, featuring the guitar work of Lee Cooper.

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

Tribute to an Enigma: The Blues Guitar of Lee Cooper (Hour 1)
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October 17, 2017 12:22 PM PDT
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Hello Friends!

We’ve got a brand new episode ready and rarin’ to go... one we're sure you'll like... so be sure to look for it next week. In the meantime, here’s another favorite we dug out of the archives — unfortunately, one that was cut while yours truly had a bit of a cold (hopefully that doesn’t detract from the great music any!). In the meantime, we’re asking all our listeners to pitch in to help keep this podcast alive and well for the foreseeable future. Here’s where you can help: http://tinyurl.com/gter36s

Join us as we pay tribute to blues guitar mystery man Lee Cooper. Bursting on the Chicago scene in 1953, his distinctive session work graced recordings by such folks as Howlin' Wolf, Eddie Boyd, Big Bill Broonzy, Washboard Sam, and more.

Pictured: one of our favorites from Washboard Sam, featuring the guitar work of Lee Cooper.

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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