Blues Bytes

June 1998

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Satan and Adam
Harlem Blues
Flying Fish

We received so much positive feedback on our April '98 Pick Hit from Satan and Adam's new disc Living On The River that we decided to run a review of the duo's debut release for Flying Fish. We must confess that we recycled a line from that original review, figuring that no one would remember that we previously borrowed the quote from a recurring Saturday Night Live skit. This review was originally printed in the October '91 issue of the Phoenix Blues Society's Blues News.

Satan and Adam - Harlem BluesNow here's an interesting story. In 1986, Adam Gussow, a young, white Ivy League-educated harmonica player, was driving through Harlem, not the safest thing to be doing, on the way to his job in the Bronx. He saw an older black man sitting on a high-back chair on the sidewalk with an electric guitar and various percussion instruments. Gussow stopped the car, and found out that this one-man band was Sterling "Satan" Magee. He brought his harps and amp back the next day and asked to sit in on a couple of tunes. It's now five years later and they're still playing together on the streets of Harlem --- Satan and Adam.

If you're tired of sterile, over-produced studio recordings, Harlem Blues will be a proverbial breath of fresh air. While Satan and Adam recorded this disc in a studio, the music sounds like it's right off the streets. Their covers of two blues standards, "Down Home Blues" and a frenetic "C.C. Rider," are so distinctive you'll think it's the first time you've heard them. And just when you think that you've got Satan's guitar style pegged, he rips off some amazing jazzy licks on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

I've got a new blues hero to add to my list. Could it be ... Satan?

--- Bill Mitchell

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