6 hour blues radio documentary primer Podcast now open

A discussion of the blues for blues lovers and fans.

6 hour blues radio documentary primer Podcast now open

Postby zebloos » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:17 pm

You can now listen to or download for FREE the New York Festival and Communicator award winning radio documentary blues primer

“I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down”
a six hour long radio documentary about the Mississippi Delta Blues

Just go to the Podcast page at:


This program has aired on:
• WKZE- FM, 98.1 – New York/Connecticut January 1999, replayed in January 2001
• KCCK-FM, Cedar Rapids, Iowa- October 1999
• Martin “Lester” Dunstan- “Lester” presents “JuzBlooz” 3WAY FM 100.9 MHz, Warrnambool, Australia – May 30 to July 4, 2000
• Geoff Pegler’s BluesBeat- FM 89.3 Victor Harbor, 94.7 Strathalbyn, 88.3 Yankalilla S.A.; and “The Sound of the Fleurieu” FM 106.7 Mildura, 90.7 Robinvale & Wentworth Vic, 87.8 Coomealla Nsw. Australia – April 22- May 27, 2000
• German Public Radio (Deutschlandradio/Deutschlandfunk Redaktion Lange Nacht 1999 (German language version)

The 6 hour long program series takes its title from a song by Mississippi Fred McDowell. It is a historical documentary series that covers the rise of the rural, country blues of the Mississippi Delta from the 1920’s through the migration of African-Americans to points north in the 1940’s. It includes the period up to development of the urban sound known as “the Chicago blues”. The documentary concludes with a look at the acoustic blues today, in the 21st Century, and spotlights some of today’s musicians in this genre.

‘I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down’ …should be required listening for anyone interested in American music…because it brims with powerful, potentially life-changing blues. You cannot hear this music and remain unmoved.”
Eric Pooley
TIME Magazine

Hour By Hour Program Description

Part 1 - A & B
Focuses on the general definition of the blues and an exploration of its origins, meaning and global impact, with a special effort to explore the socio-economic hardship and difficult circumstances of the African-American population under Jim Crow. An effort is made to trace the roots of the blues back to the indigenous music of West Africa. Dr. David Evans, one of America’s most preeminent blues historians and professor of music at the University of Memphis, provides insightful commentary.
Musical samples include African gonje music and a contemporary collaboration of American blues musician and African musicians from Mali. Also featured are the musical precursors to the blues- namely fife & drum, work chants and spirituals and the music by the Mississippi Sheiks, Vera Hall and Furry Lewis. James Earl Jones reads Raymond R. Patterson’s blues poem “Jelly Blues”. And, a special excerpt of a Woody Guthrie’s interview with Alan Lomax with Woody’s insightful interpretation of the meaning of the blues.

Part 2 - A & B
Defines the slide guitar style as an integral part of the blues with examples by Bukka White and Muddy Waters. Dr. David Evans provides commentary about the slide guitar and its origins. Then some of the great Mississippi Players are introduced: Charley Patton, Son House, and Tommy Johnson. Also featured are songs by Big Joe Williams and Willie Brown.

Part 3 - A & B
Introduces Robert Johnson, one of the most significant of Mississippi style players. The blues lyric is discussed with examples of poetry of Raymond R. Patterson, author of “Elemental Blues” read by James Earl Jones. Then the country blues harmonica is discussed with examples by De Ford Bailey, Robert Cooksey, Blues Birdhead, Hammie Nixon & Sleepy John Estes , Jazz Gillum, and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Part 4 - A & B
Features the field recordings by two of America’s greatest musicologists Alan Lomax and Dr. David Evans. Dr. Evans shares and interesting anecdote of a filed recording in 1965 at the home of bluesman Roosevelt Holts and includes a song recorded during that session. Then, the work of Alan Lomax is highlighted. The curator of the Alan Lomax archives, Matt Barton, provides interesting analysis about the meaning and impact of Lomax’s work. His field recordings of three outstanding blues players are featured : Muddy Waters, Fred McDowell and Forrest City Joe.

Part 5 - A & B
Follows the mass migration of the rural Mississippi population to the urban centers of the cold north. The Chicago blues are a continuation of the Mississippi style blues as
many musicians headed into the big cities and gave birth to a new, amplified and electrified sound- the urban blues, the primary precursor to rock and roll. This period was the golden era of the blues a sound who became a worldwide success and remained popular to today. Muddy Waters and the Howlin’ Wolf are highlighted, with songs by John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Arthur Big Boy Crudup, Elmore James, Big Mama Thornton, Otis Rush, Little Walter and Junior Wells.

Part 6 - A & B
Focuses on the acoustic blues of today highlighting a few of today’s best musicians. While no longer “Mississippi blues” per se, this hour focuses on musicians who keep the spirit of the traditional, country blues alive. Musicians Corey Harris, Olu Dara, and Doug MacLeod are interviewed. The African-American activist, music producer and publisher, Salaam Kaleem, provides commentary. The musical selections include songs by John Hammond, Corey Harris, Olu Dara, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sheila Wilcoxson , Doug MacLeod , Keb Mo’, Rory Block, Slam Allen, Guy Davis and Jessie Mae Hemphill.


“People often ask me, ‘To what do you attribute the resurgence of the
Blues?’ Usually I reply, 'I didn't know it went anywhere.' Well it is
thanks to people like Frank Matheis that it is always available. For the
new listener, this will turn you on to the many colored art form that the
blues really are. For the long time fan, you will hear things you heard years ago as well as things you should have heard years ago. You will also hear things you should hear today. Don't miss ‘I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down’.”
Jorma Kaukonen
Hot Tuna; The Jefferson Airplane

“…This [documentary] is much more in depth than I imagined. You get a lot of information in here but plenty of music too… Overall it’s impressive in that it’s both scholarly and entertaining…”
Bruce Iglauer
Alligator Records

“Congratulations on ‘I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down’. It is a brilliant, encylopedic and thoroughly enjoyable documentary of the blues… a truly epic achievement of song and sensitive commentary.”
Raymond R. Patterson (deceased)
Poet and Author of Elemental Blues
former Professor of English
City University of New York

“What a great time I had listening to the 6 hours of blues documentary. I learned so much about the blues and about different performers, some of whose names I knew, and others it was great to learn about and hear. It was a great education for me and so entertaining as well I hope that many other people will have the opportunity to hear ‘I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down’.”
Sonny Ochs
Host of “Mostly Folk”
Producer – Phil Ochs Song Nights
WRPI, New York

"Frank Matheis' radio documentary series, 'I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down,' is distinguished both by the range of blues-topics covered in each episode and by the freshness of musical (and poetic) selections Matheis has chosen to include. He's assembled an all-star cast, including actor James Earl Jones and folklorist David Evans. The blend of anecdotal and historical material works wonderfully to evoke the sorrows, hardships, redemptive humor, and creative artistry of the blues people Matheis profiles. 'The blues,' Matheis notes eloquently, 'can be about crying and dying, about hopes and dreams and everything in between.' Beautifully put--like so much else in this fascinating and informative series."
Dr. Adam Gussow
Blues Scholar and Harmonica Player (Satan & Adam)
Author of Mister Satan’s Apprentice
Prof. at the University of Mississippi

“… Reflecting Mr. Matheis' deep appreciation for the soulful wellspring from which the best of this music surges -- as well as for the contagiously emotive form itself -- this program intersperses a mix of probing, thoughtful commentary and evocative anecdotes with excellent music selections, including a number of surprises…There is enough cogent explanation of sources, social context, technique and evolution here to guide the uninitiated while enriching the experience for blues cognoscenti as well. Equally gratifying, with strong production values, the program delivers this powerful music with a vibrant presence throughout.”
Procter Lippincott
Former music editor at Scholastic Magazines , and music writer for Down Beat, The Village Voice and Newsday, among others

"This is a professionally produced series worthy of any blues loving radio station putting to air. Insightful commentary and spot on historical track selection guides the listener through the history of Mississippi Delta Blues from its origins in Africa to the present day…. I’d just like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to air this wonderful program."
Geoff Pegler
Host of BluesBeat
FM 89.3 Victor Harbor, 94.7 Strathalbyn, 88.3 Yankalilla S.A.
Host of
"The Sound of the Fleurieu"
FM 106.7 Mildura, 90.7 Robinvale & Wentworth Vic, 87.8 Coomealla Nsw.
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Location: New York

Re: 6 hour blues radio documentary primer Podcast now open

Postby beard-of-grey » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:35 am

Thanks for the tip
Listening to Part one as I write,
from the link click Podcast and for instant play click the arrow point next to the "speaker " icon.
It looks the goods
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Location: Sydney Nth Beaches Australia

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