Studs interviews blues singers Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, and Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton about the blues. They discuss the blues festival in Chicago for which they are all in town for and name other musicians who will be performing. Sunnyland Slim talks about being on the road and the hard times. Thornton describes the blues as music made from life experiences.
Studs interviews Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor about the blues. They discuss their song "Insane Asylum" and their work together. Dixon uses his song "Little Red Rooster" to help explain how the blues are created from life experiences. Taylor reflects on singers like Willie Dixon, Memphis Minnie, and others who influenced her desire to sing the blues. Taylor also discusses European audiences and blues influence there. The musical numbers are removed from this edited version of the original recording.
Sweet Honey In The Rock, an African American female vocal group, discusses their music. They talk to Studs and play folk/blues/traditional music.
Shel Silverstein discusses his books and children's literature, and art. Shel Silverstein discusses his contemporaries, art, and life experiences.
Interviewing singer, guitarist, and civil rights activist Josh White and blues singer Sam Gary about their blues and folk music.
Music performance by Oscar Brown, Jr.
The day before their concert performance at North Park College, the Shanghai Quartet was at the WFMT studios. Betty Bucchari explained her job was to search for great musicians that were not well-known. The Li brothers were destined to play the violins, as their parents were music teachers for 15 years.
Howard Levy, Stuart Rosenberg, and Johnny Frigo reminisce about their discovery of musical genres that inspired them and discuss the early roots of folk music.
Studs Terkel interviews Mary Lou Williams and her manager, Father Peter O'Brien. They discuss music, musicians, and instruments. Some clips of piano music playing at the end.
Interviewing American blues singer and guitarist, Mance Lipscomb, about his life, musical inspirations, and interest in blues music.
Studs Terkel interviews gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson. Jackson discusses the freedom rally that will be taking place at McCormick's Place in Chicago, IL.
Mahalia Jackson talks about her discovery of the blues and what drew her to become a gospel singer. She also discusses her tours around Europe and the U.S.
Music producer John Hammond and jazz critic for Down Beat magazine John McDonough discuss: Hammond's career; the artists he worked with; the artists he was the first to sign; social reform; and more. The following musical excerpts are played: "7 Come 11"; "Sauce"; "Talking Union"; "Blowing In the Wind"; "Today I Sing The Blues"; and "Live Embers".
Folk singer-songwriter and composer Jim Post and musician Randy Sabien discuss their upcoming performance at the Levy Center in Evanston, Illinois. The collaborators discuss their musical backgrounds and their opinions on global warming, religious views, and musical influences.