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The Blues Unlimited 5th Annual Year in Review Special: Best of 2018 (Hour 1)
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January 29, 2019 08:52 AM PST
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Join us as we take a look back at some of our favorite moments from 2018. We’ve picked out some highlights from the past year — here’s a hint: the name of Elmore James might be involved — and we’ll also enjoy a few of our favorite installments from our new series, “This Week in Blues History.” Be sure to stay tuned for our closing finale, when we pay tribute to some of the passing blues greats we lost last year. Don’t miss the best of 2018, on this episode of Blues Unlimited!

Pictured: Our distinctive logo comes from a rare poster for the 1977 Beale Street Music Festival. Collection of the producer. Designer/artist unknown.

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

This week on the BU blog, “The Missing Epilogue” — a special tribute to this week’s birthday boy, Elmore James — and something that got cut from the Elmore book at the very last moment. You can read all about it at https://tinyurl.com/yb3r9qf6

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 - January 27-February 2
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January 27, 2019 08:02 AM PST
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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 Guitar Slim, who hit the very top of the Billboard R&B charts with “The Things That I Used To Do,” this week in 1954.

"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

A Great Day in Aurora, Illinois (Hour 2)
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January 22, 2019 07:28 AM PST
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Over the course of two days, Tuesday May 4th and Wednesday May 5th, 1937, the Bluebird Record label arranged for extensive recording sessions with some of their current artists, as well as a few new faces, in the Leland Hotel at Aurora, Illinois (just to the west of Chicago). While some familiar names recorded the first day, Tuesday May 4th (Tampa Red, Washboard Sam, The State Street Swingers), a couple of new ones recorded as well -- Merline Johnson (also known as the "Yas Yas Girl") and Charley West, along with John D. Twitty -- the last two being fairly obscure figures who made just a handful of titles.

For the sessions the following day, five bluesmen drove up from Saint Louis in a 1930 Model A Ford. Veteran musicians Walter Davis, Big Joe Williams, and Henry Townsend were among those coming back into the recording studio, and along with them came Robert Nighthawk (he was known as Robert Lee McCoy in the pre-war days) and John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. The latter two were making their debuts as vocalists, courtesy of Walter Davis, who in addition to being a popular Bluebird recording artist, also worked part time as a talent scout. No one could've imagined, at the time, a more propitious recording debut.

Teaming up in the studio with Big Joe Williams, the music that Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson made together was not only a harbinger of the small combo trio format that would gain popularity in the early days of post-war Chicago Blues, Nighthawk would go on to influence virtually every slide guitar player that ever worked in the Windy City. As for Sonny Boy Williamson, his musical legacy is something that Blues musicians still draw upon to this very day, not only in terms of his influential harmonica playing, but his incredibly rich catalog of songs. It's almost impossible to think of a Blues artist who hasn't, at some point in their career, performed or recorded a cover version of one of his songs.

As for the title of this program, we've "borrowed" the phrase from the famous photograph, "A Great Day in Harlem." Certainly, Wednesday May 5th, 1937, was a great day in Aurora, Illinois, as two important and influential Blues musicians got their start, changing the course of Blues history as we know it.

Pictured: John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (top); Robert Nighthawk (in those days, known as Robert Lee McCoy, bottom); memorabilia from the Leland Hotel in Aurora, Illinois, where Bluebird held their recording sessions.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com -- NOTE: ** OFFER ENDS NEXT WEEK! **

A Great Day in Aurora, Illinois (Hour 1)
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January 22, 2019 06:10 AM PST
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On May 5th, 1937, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Robert Nighthawk made their recording debuts. Accompanied in the studio by Big Joe Williams, the recordings these three men made that day helped shape the future of Chicago Blues as we know it.

Pictured: John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (top); Robert Nighthawk (in those days, known as Robert Lee McCoy, bottom); memorabilia from the Leland Hotel in Aurora, Illinois, where Bluebird held their recording sessions.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com -- NOTE: ** OFFER ENDS NEXT WEEK! **

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 - January 20-26
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January 20, 2019 07:08 AM PST
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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. January 1953 was a busy month for recording in Chicago, involving sessions, this week, with “Homesick” James Williamson and Johnny Shines.

"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

Red Hot Blues Guitar (Hour 2)
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January 15, 2019 07:57 AM PST
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On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we jam out in style with some memorably hard rocking, searing and soaring, gut wrenching and spirit lifting, "get-out-your-air-guitar-and-play-along" all time Blues favorites. From Pee Wee Crayton and T-Bone Walker, to Elmore James, Pete Lewis, Chuck Berry, Robert Nighthawk, Wild Jimmy Spruill, Otis Rush, Hound Dog Taylor — and lots more — join us for two hours of Red Hot and Smokin' electric Blues guitar.

Pictured: Legendary slide man, Hound Dog Taylor. Photo by Bob Keeling.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com

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

Red Hot Blues Guitar (Hour 1)
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January 15, 2019 07:46 AM PST
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On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we jam out in style with some memorably hard rocking, searing and soaring, gut wrenching and spirit lifting, "get-out-your-air-guitar-and-play-along" all time Blues favorites. From Pee Wee Crayton and T-Bone Walker, to Elmore James, Pete Lewis, Chuck Berry, Robert Nighthawk, Wild Jimmy Spruill, Otis Rush, Hound Dog Taylor — and lots more — join us for two hours of Red Hot and Smokin' electric Blues guitar.

Pictured: Legendary slide man, Hound Dog Taylor. Photo by Bob Keeling.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com

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 - January 13-19
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January 13, 2019 07:39 AM PST
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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. January 1953 was a busy month for recording in Chicago, involving sessions, this week, with Elmore James, Arthur “Big Boy” Spires, and Johnny Williams.

"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

We Three Kings: Muddy Waters, Leroy Foster, and Little Walter (Hour 2)
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January 08, 2019 11:55 AM PST
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When Muddy Waters, "Baby Face" Leroy Foster, and Little Walter Jacobs all walked into a recording studio one day in January 1950, they did more than just make music. They captured a definitive moment in the transformation of post-war Chicago Blues. It all happened thanks to Monroe Passis and his Parkway label, which he got up and running in the Windy City sometime in late 1949 or during the first few days of 1950. He was already running a record distributorship, and like many other entrepreneurial spirits, decided that making records would be a good addition to his business.

Muddy, who at the time was under contract to Aristocrat Records (which would become the Chess label in a matter of months), was frustrated that Leonard Chess wouldn't record him with his "working band." Leonard apparently insisted on repeating the "stripped down" hit formula that had worked so well in the past, although a mid 1949 session with pianist Little Johnny Jones and guitarist/drummer Leroy Foster was a notable exception. Even though the results were outstanding, Chess -- for whatever reason -- chose not to repeat them. At least not initially.

Unfortunately, Muddy's playing for Parkway behind Leroy Foster and Little Walter on "Rollin' and Tumblin,'" a smashing update of an old Delta classic, had proved a bit too enthusiastic, and his presence on the ensuing 78rpm single was easily detected by Leonard. Consequently, Chess rushed Muddy into the studio to cut a remake, and when the record came out on the market, as Leonard had predicted, it killed the Parkway version. Losing the steam of a burgeoning hit record was too much for the tiny company, and Parkway folded a few months later, having sold off their masters to another company.

After Parkway, Leonard Chess relinquished his tight studio grip over Muddy, finally allowing Little Walter, and eventually Jimmy Rogers, to accompany him on recording sessions. Leroy Foster moved over to the J.O.B. operation, but it proved to be short lived. His final session, in October 1952, was eerily prophetic. "The Blues Is Killin' Me," one of the titles he recorded that day, would predate his death due to alcoholism some six years later, a few days short of his 34th birthday.

After Little Walter had a smash hit with his first single for the Chess brothers, "Juke," he formed his own group, and Jimmy Rogers would come to occupy the "linchpin" position in the Muddy Waters band during the busy, heady days of the 1950s.

For a brief period of time, three musicians made musical history, and the Parkway recordings of Leroy Foster, Little Walter Jacobs, and Muddy Waters will always be remembered as one of those definitive moments in the history of Chicago Blues.

Pictured: Various releases of Parkway material. Top Left: Muddy’s “do over” 78 for Aristocrat that brought about Parkway’s demise.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com

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

We Three Kings: Muddy Waters, Leroy Foster, and Little Walter (Hour 1)
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January 08, 2019 11:50 AM PST
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On this episode of Blues Unlimited, we aim the spotlight on a key transitional period in the history of post-war Chicago Blues, by focusing on the early recordings of three influential figures: Muddy Waters, "Baby Face" Leroy Foster, and Little Walter Jacobs.

Pictured: Various releases of Parkway material. Top Left: Muddy’s “do over” 78 for Aristocrat that brought about Parkway’s demise.

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

Be sure to check out the BLUES UNLIMITED WEBSITE, where we’ll be posting fun and exciting stuff from time to time... including our SPECIAL OFFER on the one and only Elmore James bio! Now at https://bluesunlimitedradio.com

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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