Helen Humes discusses her career and touring with Count Basie and his orchestra. John McDonough is present for the interview and contributes. Songs sung by Helen are played throughout the interview: "He May Be Your Man", "Song of the Wanderer", "If I Could Be with You for One Hour Tonight" (2 recordings- one from 1940 and one from 1977), "Unlucky Woman", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Today I Sing the Blues", and "They Raided the Joint". Music has been removed for copyright reasons.
Art Hodes discusses his history and influences on his career as a jazz and blues pianist. He tells stories of musicians he has worked with and how he keeps his performances fresh after playing for so many years. Music by Art Hodes is played throughout: "Chimes Blues", "Tennessee Waltz", "Grandpa's Spells", "Just a Closer Walk with Thee","Cakewalkin' Babies from Home", "Blues 'N Booze", and "Riverside Blues".
Studs interviews Brother John Sellers about his career and other blues singers. Sellers explains that religion influenced his music as did performers like Mahalia Jackson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Muddy Waters. Studs reads some of the lyrics of blues song, "In the Evening." Sellers describes street singers and blind singers. He describes the music and style of Jackson and Broonzy and some of his own songs. Sellers performs "Talk About A Child" and "Sally Go Round the Sunshine" live on the program.
Blind John Davis, Chicago blues pianist, discusses his time playing in Germany and at the Blue Note jazz club, chitlin' parties, growing up on the West side of Chicago. He also recalls meeting and working with musicians like Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy. Music by John Davis (unless noted as another artist) is played throughout : "Jim Town Blues", "Every Day I Got the Blues", "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie", "Summertime", "Looking Up at Down"- Big Bill Broonzy, "Killer Diller Blues"- Memphis Minnie, "Moanin' the Blues", "When I Lost My Baby", and "Magic Carpet".
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss various musicians that she mentions in her book and their influence on black music. Garland explains the music of young black artists and how commercialization of music gave blacks an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. Garland talks about how Fannie Lou Hamer used music to express her message in the Civil Rights Movement and as a women's rights activist. Studs and Garland discuss various black female artists and their music.
Presenting music by the "Shanghai Quartet,"- Weigang Li, Honggang Li, Zhengh Wang, Käthe Jarka, w/ Elizabeth Buccheri- with blues singer and mandolinist Yank Rachell.
Performance by Corky Siegel and the West End String Quartet.
Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry discuss blues music, their backgrounds, and their nearly twenty year collaboration. The duo perform several songs during the interview, including: 00:03:32-00:07:32 "Cornbread, Peas, and Black Molasses" 00:08:50-00:11:50 "Climbing on Top of the Hill" 00:12:35-00:14:30 "Uncle Bud" 00:17:39-00:20:49 unknown song 00:25:16-00:28:15 "That's How I Feel" 00:29:23-00:32:02 unknown song
Discussing American gospel music with Lucius Bell, Jr. and Ray Tate.
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.
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.
Son House discusses his life and career as a preacher and blues musician. He talks about his family, his religious background as a preacher, and his recent comeback after disappearing from music scene in 1943. He performs several songs during the interview, including: 00:00:00-00:03:35 "Death Letter" 00:17:19-00:21:22 "Levy Camp Moan" 00:35:40-00:38:59 "Preaching the Blues" 00:45:58-00:48:24 "Louise McGhee" 00:53:26-00:55:55 "Empire State Express" 00:57:40-00:59:14 "Grinnin' in Your Face"
Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry discuss their careers as blues musicians and longtime collaborators.
Discussing his appearance at Rick's Cafe with jazz musician Mose Allison.