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This Week on BU - More Gems & Rarities from Genesis (Hour 2)
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October 16, 2018 09:14 AM PDT
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Genesis was a series of three box sets that came out in England between 1972 and 1975. Compiled by expert blues researchers Mike Leadbitter and Mike Rowe, they were lengthy explorations of the Chess catalog -- each volume contained four LPs and a lavishly illustrated booklet -- and featured classic selections and rare cuts, some of which are hard to find even today. 40 years later, the Genesis series has passed the test of time as a high water mark by which other reissues are judged, in terms of quality, selection of material, and level of research -- each of them now considered to be prized collectors items.

Mike Rowe would go on to author the definitive history of Chicago Blues with his landmark work, Chicago Breakdown, while Mike Leadbitter -- one of the founders of Blues Unlimited magazine (for whom this radio show is named in honor) -- would go on to write and edit countless articles and liner notes during his all too brief career. In addition, he was also the co-author of the standard discographical reference work, Blues Records, now in its fourth edition. The third volume of Genesis was dedicated to his memory when it came out in 1975, the year after he died.

When the review of the last Genesis volume came out in Blues Unlimited magazine in 1975, it was noted that there was an option for a fourth, similar volume. Sadly, this fantastic series would come to end with just three installments, but as the old saying goes, it was enough. It was not only testimony to a great record label and the musicians behind it, but also to a pair of passionate blues experts -- Mike Rowe and Mike Leadbitter -- who compiled the series and brought it to fruition. For that, we thank them for bringing this fantastic material to light, for all of us to enjoy.

Pictured: Each volume of Genesis was a box set containing 4 LPs and a lavishly illustrated booklet. Today, they are considered rare collectors items.

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 120 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

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 BU - More Gems & Rarities from Genesis (Hour 1)
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October 16, 2018 09:03 AM PDT
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We had so much fun pulling out rare gems and classic nuggets from Genesis, we’re doing it all over again this time around as well! Join us for more great, rare, and classic cuts as we mine deep into the Genesis motherlode. (Part 2 of 2)

Pictured: Each volume of Genesis was a box set containing 4 LPs and a lavishly illustrated booklet. Today, they are considered rare collectors items.

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 120 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Please support the people who support Blues Unlimited! This week’s episode comes to you, in part, by Dick Waterman Photography: http://dickwaterman.photoshelter.com

This Week in Blues History - October 14-20
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October 14, 2018 07:51 AM PDT
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“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 Big Maceo, who recorded his “magnum opus” — the barnstorming instrumental “Chicago Breakdown” — this week in 1945.

"This Week in Blues History" is ONLY available as a download to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 120 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Gems & Rarities from Genesis (Hour 2)
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October 09, 2018 08:13 AM PDT
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Genesis was a legendary series of albums compiled by British Blues experts Mike Leadbitter and Mike Rowe between 1972 and 1975. They were a lengthy celebration of the Chess catalog -- each volume was a box set that held four different LPs, complete with lavish illustrations and extensive notes about the music and the performers.

Over the last 50 years, the Chess catalog has been extensively reissued, but some of the cuts off of Genesis remain rare and hard to find even today. Although Genesis volume one stuck largely to material that had previously been issued on 78s, volumes two and three opened up the gates with rare unissued cuts and alternate takes that had not seen the light of day since they were first recorded. It’s those cuts off of Genesis that we’ll be focusing on most with this program -- along the way, giving us a chance to highlight these critically acclaimed series of LPs, while hearing some great nuggets from the Chess vaults all at the same time.

Although twelve volumes were originally slated for the Genesis anthology, it was sadly not to be. Critically acclaimed at the time they came out, it was either due to lack of sales, or perhaps due to co-compiler Mike Leadbitter’s untimely death in 1974 that saw the series grind to a halt after just three installments. The third and final volume, compiled by Mike Rowe, was dedicated to Mike Leadbitter when it came out in 1975. Today, they’re prized collectors items, holding a special place of honor among those who are lucky enough to have them in their collection.

Pictured: Genesis Vol. 3, dedicated to British Blues expert Mike Leadbitter.

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

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

Gems & Rarities from Genesis (Hour 1)
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October 09, 2018 08:04 AM PDT
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Depending upon your point of view, Genesis refers either to a book of the bible, a popular rock group, or a plot device from Star Trek. If you’re a blues fan, it only means one thing — a series of three box sets that came out between 1972 and 1975 celebrating the Chess catalog. Rare gems and classic nuggets from Genesis, on this episode of Blues Unlimited. (Part 1 of 2)

Pictured: Genesis Vol. 3, dedicated to British Blues expert Mike Leadbitter.

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

Please support the people who support Blues Unlimited! This week’s episode comes to you, in part, by Dick Waterman Photography: http://dickwaterman.photoshelter.com

This Week in Blues History - October 7-13
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October 07, 2018 09:14 AM PDT
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“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 Henry “Ragtime Texas” Thomas, whose two dozen recordings for Vocalion, made in the late 1920s, hark back to a time before the blues.

"This Week in Blues History" is ONLY available as a download to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 120 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Recycling The Blues Again: More Origins of Classic Blues Songs (Hour 2)
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October 02, 2018 09:59 AM PDT
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Join us as we take a look at yet another handful of iconic, world famous blues songs, and trace their roots back through time to their original version or incarnation. It's a fascinating glimpse at the development of some of the most beloved songs in all of blues history. Featured on this episode: "Key To The Highway," "Shake 'Em On Down," "Matchbox Blues," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Standing At The Crossroads," and more. We're recycling the blues again, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: A beloved blues classic by Little Walter.

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 120 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Please support the people who support Blues Unlimited! This week’s episode comes to you, in part, by Dick Waterman Photography: http://dickwaterman.photoshelter.com

Recycling The Blues Again: More Origins of Classic Blues Songs (Hour 1)
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October 02, 2018 09:54 AM PDT
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Join us as we take a look at yet another handful of iconic, world famous blues songs, and trace their roots back through time to their original version or incarnation. It's a fascinating glimpse at the development of some of the most beloved songs in all of blues history. Featured on this episode: "Key To The Highway," "Shake 'Em On Down," "Matchbox Blues," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Standing At The Crossroads," and more. We're recycling the blues again, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: A beloved blues classic by Little Walter.

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 120 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

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 in Blues History - September 30-October 6
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September 30, 2018 03:52 AM PDT
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“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 the Memphis Jug Band, whose 1929 recording, “K.C. Moan,” was chosen by Harry Smith as one of the 84 selections on his “Anthology of American Folk Music.”

"This Week in Blues History" is ONLY available as a download to our bandcamp subscribers! More info -- including how to get instant access to more than 120 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Legends of Bluesville, Part 7: Windy City Blues (Hour 2)
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September 25, 2018 08:16 AM PDT
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Our final stop through the Bluesville catalog takes us to the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois. On previous installments, we visited the east and west coasts, with stops along the way in Texas and Louisiana, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, St. Louis, and finally Indianapolis. Chicago seemed like the most logical place to end our journey, although astute listeners will probably realize the bulk of the material on this episode was not actually recorded for Bluesville, but for their parent company, Prestige.

Prestige Records was started by Bob Weinstock in 1949. Using a variety of different subsidiaries, Prestige went on to become famous in the jazz field for their many fine recordings. In 1959, Bluesville was born, and over the space of half a decade, issued nearly 90 LPs. By 1965, however, Bluesville had run its course — most of the recording activity had ceased a couple years previous — and subsequently, new blues material would appear either on Prestige, or on yet another subsidiary called Milestone.

As 1963 was turning into 1964, renowned author, scholar and researcher Sam Charters was on hand in Chicago, where he produced the twin classics, “Blues on the South Side” by Homesick James, and its companion LP by Billy Boy Arnold, “More Blues on the South Side.” Subsequently, Charters would also go on to produce “The Blues Never Die,” recorded by the Muddy Waters band in New York City, after a low-paying gig left them desperately in need of cash to pay their hotel bill and get back home to Chicago. Since Muddy was under contract to Phil and Leonard Chess — his home record label since the late 1940s — band members Otis Spann and James Cotton handled all the vocals, while Muddy stayed safely in the background. When the LP came out, he was discreetly credited as “Dirty Rivers.”

An interesting bit of trivia came to light as we were doing background research on this program. Traditionally, the recording date for “The Blues Never Die” has always been given as November 21, 1964. Yet another date placed it slightly earlier, during the month of October, that same year. As it turns out, the truth was somewhere a bit farther off in the future. In interviews, Sam Charters clearly recalled that Muddy Waters and the band had played Carnegie Hall in New York City, sharing a bill with, among others, Chuck Berry. Thanks to his crystal clear recollection and a searchable online database of Carnegie Hall performances, we now know that Muddy and company were at that revered concert venue between Thursday, June 17, 1965, and Sunday June 20, 1965. Charters remembered making arrangements for the studio date on a Saturday afternoon, placing it on the 19th. A subsequent review of the LP, appearing in the November 1965 issue of Blues Unlimited magazine, would seem to confirm the revised timeline and series of events.

One thing that might come as a surprise, are the few cuts featured from the LP “Slim’s Shout,” by Sunnyland Slim. Known for his down home keyboard work and authoritative vocals, his 1960 outing for Bluesville finds him in the esteemed company of tenor sax giant King Curtis, at a studio date engineered by legendary producer Rudy Van Gelder. Sounding decidedly breezy and uptown for a change, his Bluesville LP marks a sharp contrast to some of the gritty classics he cut in the immediate postwar years in Chicago, and gives us a glimpse into his flexibility and adaptability as a blues artist.

Finally, at the beginning of hour two, we devote a special section to a handful of recordings produced by Pete Welding. Some of them later came out on Milestone — on a lovely (and hard to find, we might add) collection entitled “Ramblin’ On My Mind: Train and Travel Blues,” while others wound up overseas on the Storyville imprint, on their four part series called “Blues Scene USA.” Had Bluesville still been a viable enterprise at the time these recordings were ready to be issued, perhaps they would’ve appeared there — but at this late date, that’s just purely conjecture.

The Bluesville record label occupies a distinct place in blues history, and in some ways reflects the vibrancy, vitality, and enthusiasm of the Blues Revival of the 1960s. Not only did they issue many fine LPs, just as their parent company Prestige had done, but also on a widely diverse group of performers — some of whom went on to greater acclaim, and some of whom never recorded again. Regardless, their legacy lives on — as does Bluesville — in the hearts and minds of blues fans all over the world.

Pictured: This classic LP, featuring the photographic work of Ray Flerlage, is considered a real standout of Homesick’s career.

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 120 other episodes from our extensive archive as well. More info is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

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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