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Three from Excello: The Desert Island Classics, Part 6 (Hour 1)
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August 28, 2018 07:12 AM PDT
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Join us as we venture down to Louisiana, for some five-star slabs of vinyl! We’ll hear selections from "Rooster Blues" by Lightnin’ Slim, "Raining In My Heart" by Slim Harpo, and a double-LP from 1970, called "Swamp Blues." It’s Desert Island Classics, from Excello Records, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: A real rarity today, the very first LP issued by Excello was "Rooster Blues" by Lightnin' Slim.

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 - August 26-September 1
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August 26, 2018 08:53 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 Mississippi guitarist Tommy Johnson, who cut one of the prophetic masterpieces of the blues, this week in 1928.

"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

What About Black Bob? (Rockin' Piano Blues 1934-1938) (Hour 2)
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August 21, 2018 10:37 AM PDT
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Out of all the enigmas that one might encounter while wandering around the Blues Universe, chief amongst them is, "Who, exactly, was Black Bob?" As it turns out, that's a good question — and we'll cut to the chase here — the answer is that no one is really certain.

In a 1978 article for Blues Unlimited magazine (along with a followup in 1979, and a postscript penned by E.S. Virgo in 1987), Melvyn Hirst posed this very same question, with the answer being any one of four different candidates: Bob Call, Lovell Alexander, Bob Alexander (a.k.a. “Bob” Alexander Robinson), and Bob Robinson (the latter two, it was discovered later, were one and the same person — so really only three. Or actually, in fact, really four when you consider that Charlie West told researcher Bob Eagle that he knew Black Bob as “Black Jack” down in Cincinnati — are you with us so far?).

But here’s where it starts to get confusing: according to eyewitness accounts, he may have been either from Detroit, Saint Louis, or Indianapolis. He may have died in 1937, or then again in 1968, or maybe again, perhaps, in the 1950s. Moody Jones, who came to Chicago in 1939, says that he worked with Black Bob in the clubs, and that he was a stickler for musicianship. His last session? 1939 and 1941 have both been suggested, but recently the 1941 date has come into question, so maybe just 1939, then. Rather curiously, Memphis Minnie claimed that Black Bob played with her on two of her last sessions, for Parkway/Regal in 1950 and again for Checker in 1952 — and, we’d have to quickly add, with the benefit of hindsight — very highly unlikely. Finally, Memphis Slim offered that he knew a piano player by the name of Bob Hudson, who went by the nickname Black Bob, and for many years this has been considered to be all the definitive proof needed to, once and for all, establish his true identity. Others, meanwhile, remain unconvinced — citing earlier interviews with Slim, where he claimed he only knew him by the name Black Bob, and no other.

One of the most intriguing theories that’s come to light in recent years is that it was actually a convenient moniker for any one of several different piano players who needed to make a few quick bucks at a recording session. And while we can’t make any claims for certain, one person who definitely falls under that category would be Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of Gospel music. We say he fits the profile here, because it would have been a way for him to put food on the table while pursuing his fledgling career in the Gospel world -- all the while, serving to protect his secular identity from the church.

Lending credence to this theory are a few intriguing clues from the work of Tampa Red. Known for employing all the best piano players in Chicago, his last session with Georgia Tom (as Dorsey was known in those days), was in February 1932. His very next session with a piano player, in March 1934, was with Black Bob. And while we can’t draw any more conclusions than that, all we can say is that it’s definitely food for thought.

Another theory? How about the fact that it seemed like Black Bob only wanted to be known by his nickname, leading again to possible conjecture (the only kind we really have when it comes to Black Bob), that maybe he had fled north in an attempt to escape the long arm of the law back down south.

Whatever happened to Black Bob, we really don’t know. All we can say for certain is that he laid down some spectacular piano work in the mid 1930s, with his presence sparking hundreds of records by almost two dozen artists.

Not bad for someone who, all these years later, maddeningly remains one of the enduring enigmas of the Blues.

Note: Special help and assistance with this episode came from Paul Vernon, Bob Eagle, and Howard Rye, with a tip of the hat to Black Bob expert Michel Chaigne.

Pictured: One of the few 78s to give him label credit, the "Joe Louis Strut" is a tour de force by Black Bob.

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 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

What About Black Bob? (Rockin' Piano Blues 1934-1938) (Hour 1)
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August 21, 2018 10:25 AM PDT
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Join us as we aim the spotlight on a mid-1930s enigma, piano legend Black Bob. Recording with dozens of musicians, he mysteriously appeared on the scene in the early 1930s, only to disappear again a few years later.

Pictured: One of the few 78s to give him label credit, the "Joe Louis Strut" is a tour de force by Black Bob.

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 - August 19-25
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August 20, 2018 06:49 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 blues piano mystery man, Black Bob — who was in the studio this week with Memphis Minnie, in 1935.

"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

One-of-a-Kind Wonders: The Rarest Blues 78s of All Time (Hour 2)
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August 14, 2018 09:40 AM PDT
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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

Join us as we aim the spotlight on the rarest 78s of all time. We’ve got some real classics from the 1920s and 30s, that have exactly one thing in common — only one copy was all that was ever found. We’ll hear from Son House, Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, Skip James, King Solomon Hill, Frank Stokes, and many more. It’s one-of-a-kind blues 78s — on this episode Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: First discovered in 1995, the "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" comes from the only surviving copy.

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

One-of-a-Kind Wonders: The Rarest Blues 78s of All Time (Hour 1)
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August 14, 2018 09:31 AM PDT
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Hello friends,

Well, we're back from the 2018 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, and had a wonderful time! We're trying to get back into "work mode" -- there's a lot of projects waiting in the wings -- but in the meantime, we thought you'd enjoy one of our favorites from the archives. We remastered it after finding a couple tracks that had recently been reissued in much better shape than what we had used originally. Enjoy!

Join us as we aim the spotlight on the rarest 78s of all time. We’ve got some real classics from the 1920s and 30s, that have exactly one thing in common — only one copy was all that was ever found. We’ll hear from Son House, Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, Skip James, King Solomon Hill, Frank Stokes, and many more. It’s one-of-a-kind blues 78s — on this episode Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: First discovered in 1995, the "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" comes from the only surviving copy.

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 - August 12-18
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August 12, 2018 10:07 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 Sid Hemphill, who was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, this week in 1942.

"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

The J.O.B. Chicago Blues Masters, Part 2 (1952-1963) (Hour 2)
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July 29, 2018 07:18 AM PDT
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Join us as we wrap up our tribute to J.O.B. Records. A legendary imprint run by a man named Joe Brown, J.O.B. recorded some of the finest talent the Windy City had to offer. In part two, we’ll focus on the years 1952 to 1954, when the label enjoyed its final period of peak activity — and scored its only Billboard chart hit ("Five Long Years," by Eddie Boyd). We’ll hear classics, gems, and rarities from J.B. Lenoir, John Brim, Johnny Shines, Snooky Pryor, Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Minnie, Robert Lockwood, Floyd Jones, and more.

Pictured: An all-time favorite from J.B. Lenoir. Why it never hit the Billboard charts is anyone’s guess.

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 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

The J.O.B. Chicago Blues Masters, Part 2 (1952-1963) (Hour 1)
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July 29, 2018 07:13 AM PDT
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Join us as we wrap up our tribute to J.O.B. Records. A legendary imprint run by a man named Joe Brown, J.O.B. recorded some of the finest talent the Windy City had to offer. In part two, we’ll focus on the years 1952 to 1954, when the label enjoyed its final period of peak activity. A tribute to the J.O.B. label, on this episode of Blues Unlimited.

Pictured: An all-time favorite from J.B. Lenoir. Why it never hit the Billboard charts is anyone’s guess.

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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