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Down Home Delta Blues from 1941 (Hour 1)
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October 30, 2018 10:08 AM PDT
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Join us as we aim the spotlight on some of the spectacular Down Home Blues that were recorded during the year 1941. From the Library of Congress field recordings of Son House and Muddy Waters, to the Delta stylings of Big Joe Williams, Arthur Crudup, Tommy McClennan, and Robert Petway, it was a year to be remembered.

Right: Early Publicity Shot of Mississippi Blues Legend Big Joe Williams. Left: Some of the music recorded in 1941.

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 - October 28-November 3
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October 28, 2018 08:30 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 Professor Longhair, who first recorded a beloved Mardi Gras classic, this week in 1949.

"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 150 episodes of Blues Unlimited -- is at http://bluesunlimited.bandcamp.com/subscribe

The Last Great Field Trip to Memphis (Hour 2)
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October 23, 2018 11:22 AM PDT
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When the major record labels, like Columbia and Victor, figured out there was money to be made by selling blues, jazz, gospel, and down home country music, sometime in the mid to late 1920s, they started sending out small armies of field recording units to cities like Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Memphis, to see what talent they could find. In the Bluff City, a place that has always been blessed with a rich musical tapestry, field recording units first arrived in 1927, with annual follow-ups taking place every year. But with the advent of the Great Depression, 1930 was something of a "last hurrah" — with visits by Brunswick/Vocalion in February, and by Victor in May and November of that year.

Sadly, it would be more than eight years before another record company would send a field unit to Memphis, which happened late in June 1939, when Vocalion set up shop for two weeks. Recruiting more than a dozen artists, they waxed almost 170 titles over a two week period — only taking time off for Sunday, July 2nd and July 9th, when no recordings took place at all.

With the exception of Little Buddy Doyle, who made three titles on Saturday, July 1st, most of the first week was devoted to country and western. The Alley Boys of Abbeville — named after their hometown in Louisiana — kicked things off on Saturday, June 30th, cutting some 16 sides. Hank Penny and Roy Acuff were in the studio two days later, cutting almost three dozen titles over a four day period, with The Andrew Brothers and Slim Smith dominating the proceedings on Friday, July 7th.

It was back over to the blues for Saturday, July 8th, when Charlie Burse cut ten sides, with the Swift Jewel Cowboys taking over for Monday and Tuesday, July 10th and 11th. Wednesday, July 12th was another bluesy day, with Blind Boy Fuller, Bull City Red (aka "Brother" George Washington) and Sonny Jones waxing a total of 18 sides. After Gene Steele (6 titles) and the Swift Jewel Cowboys cut a few more sides, for the rest of the trip, it was blues all the way. Bull City Red, Jimmy DeBerry, and Sonny Jones all cut titles on Thursday, July 13th, with recordings by Jack Kelly and Little Buddy Doyle commencing the next day, Friday the 14th. Finally, Charlie Burse returned on Saturday, July 15th. After cutting an additional ten titles, the engineers at Vocalion called it quits. Over the two week period, they'd cut a total of 168 sides on more than a dozen artists. Years later, the son of one of the recording engineers said that the events of July 1939 were (we can only hopefully assume) fondly remembered — through a haze of marijuana smoke — perhaps the major contributing factor to the largely unknown identities of the accompanying musicians on the blues sessions (which, if it ever was known, has now been lost to the sands of time).

For the city of Memphis, when Vocalion wrapped things up and left town, it marked the end of an era. No further recording activity would take place in the Bluff City until 1950 — when a man by the name of Sam Phillips set up shop just a few blocks east of downtown, at 706 Union Avenue. But as they say, we’ll have to leave that for another time.

A most special thanks to Howard Rye, Chris Smith, and Tony Russell for their inestimable help and research assistance with this episode.

Pictured: One of the top sellers on Vocalion at the time, Blind Boy Fuller.

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

The Last Great Field Trip to Memphis (Hour 1)
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October 23, 2018 11:12 AM PDT
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In July 1939, the engineers from Vocalion Records set up shop for two weeks in Memphis, cutting almost 170 sides by more than a dozen artists. The 78s they made, by Blind Boy Fuller, Little Buddy Doyle, Jack Kelly, and Charlie Burse, among others, marked the last chapter of recording activity in the Bluff City prior to World War Two. It’s the last great field trip to Memphis, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: One of the top sellers on Vocalion at the time, Blind Boy Fuller.

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 21-27
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October 21, 2018 09:19 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 James “Beale Street” Clark — barely a footnote in blues history — who recorded an enduring classic, 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

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

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

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