Robert Barclay


Robert Barclay launched "The Juke Joint" broadcast on WCMU in April 1985. It has been a Sunday night fixture from 8:00-11:00 pm ever since. A devoted listener dubbed him the "Duke of Juke." He includes nearly a century's worth of blues history on his program including traditional and contemporary blues along with boogie woogie, soul music, rhythm & blues, zydeco and gospel music. 


In 2004, the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee honored him with the "Keeping the Blues Alive Award" in the radio category. The ceremony was hosted by Bob Porter, a noted blues producer and author.  The Blues Foundation is an international organization that promotes blues music and maintains the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. 


In 2015, the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters presented him with the Public Media Impact Award for "outstanding contributions to Public Broadcasting." 


Since 1988 he has been a contributing photographer to Living Blues magazine, published by the University of Mississippi, and his work has been published on CD covers for a variety of blues artists. 


He was the Director of Photography in the University Communications office at CMU where he was employed since 1980. He retired in 2013 and was granted emeritus status. 


He and his wife, Peggy Brisbane, photographically documented the history of WCMU's "Our Front Porch" concert series for several decades and continue to document the Wheatland Music Festival. 

Ways to Connect

This week on"The Juke Joint" broadcast, the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, played some soulful gospel singing by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, the Staple Singers, Swan Silvertones, the Clara Ward Singers andMahalia Jackson, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. He also played a selction of songs from the civil rights movement.

Our first batch of all new stuff for 2018 on The Beat this week...Michigan's own Sunny Wilkinson, vibraphonist Steve Hobbs, saxophonist Steve Slagle and a great pairing, the Chick Corea-Steve Gadd Band!

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the "Duke of Juke," Robert Barclay, celebrated Elvis Presley's 83rd birthday with blues, rock & roll and soul music from Memphis by Elvis, BB King, Little Milton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Otis Redding and Howlin' Wolf. He also paid tribute to the late Rick Hall, producer and songwriter from the Fame studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Robert included the work of Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and Arthur Alexander. 

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, featured the work of guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen. During the interview Bill spoke about his roots in Ann Arbor and forming the band Commander Cody & the Last Planet Airmen. He now lives in Austin, Texas as the "King of Diesel-billy" with his twangy guitar and truck driving tunes. You'll hear a classic 8-minute version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" and some music by some of his favorites like Bob Dylan, Mike Bloomfield and Red Simpson.

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, celebrated the music of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Nina Simone who will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the spring. He also played some more music for the holidays by Charles Brown, CJ Chenier, Marcia Ball, Heavenly Gospel Singers, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks and Louis Armstrong.

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, shared his favorite blues releases of 2017 (tune in to find out what they were). He also played some tunes for the holiday season by BB King, Charles Brown, Odetta, Thornetta Davis and the Staples Singers.

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, played some new releases by Mitch Woods, Benny Turner, Sweet Pea Atkinson and a tribute to Howlin' Wolf along with some vintage material by the Neville Brothers, Little Junior Parker and John Lee Hooker.


This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, featured the Grammy nominees in the two blues categories. This included the work of Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo', Eric Bibb, Elvin Bishop, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, RL Boyce, Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and the Rolling Stones. 


He also debuted new CDs by Samantha Fish, Julian Fauth, a tribute to Howlin' Wolf and a collection of blues harp tunes by a variety of artists.


While the veteran host of "Homespun," Tom Ball, takes some time off, Robert Barclay filled in and played selections from these releases. You'll hear some wonderful vocal harmonies from John Prine & Iris Dement, Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrrard along with Emmy Lou Harris & Rodney Crowell. He also played some vintage Joan Baez and some great fingerstyle guitar picking from Mississippi John Hurt and Doc & Merle Watson. 

This week on "The Juke Joint" broadcast the Duke of Juke, Robert Barclay, turned the clock back 50 years to 1967 for some blues and soul music from that year. That includes the work of Booker T & the MGs, Albert King, Etta James, Slim Harpo, Ray Charles, James Brown, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson and Muddy Waters. He also played some listener requests for the Downchild Blues Band and Boz Scaggs.