Sunday, March 19, 2006

Adam Gussow Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir

I have recently been re-reading this book by Adam Gussow based on his adventures with Sterling Magee playing blues on the streets of Harlem and eventually around the world.

Satan and Adam as Sterling and Gussow were known recorded several CDs and toured but in the late 90's disappeared off the map not long after the memoir was published in 1998.

While re-reading the book I did a quick Google and found out that Adam Gussow had updated his webpages last year. Sterling and Adam had both suffered ill health but back late last year were planning on working together again. Checkout the webpages. There are some photos at the book's publishers website.

Try and get a copy of Mister Satan's Apprentice because it is a wonderfully evocative read. I also found on my search another book which I will be hunting down - Seems Like Murder Here. This book is about the violence in the lyrics of blues. You can find an interview with Gussow here on the book.


  1. Anonymous8:56 PM


    Purely by chance, while doing a search, I stumbled across your recent mention of MISTER SATAN'S APPRENTICE. Thanks! Yes, Mr. Satan (Sterling Magee) and I did indeed have some rough times between 1998 and 2000, but he is now very much on the comeback trail. He lives in a nursing home called Boca Ciega in Gulfport, Fla., just outside of St. Petersburg, and has a regular Thursday evening gig. I joined him in Gulfport in early December for a gala fundraiser; he, in turn, flew to Oxford, Miss., where I live and teach at the University of Mississippi, to play the Blues Today symposium in mid-February. He's no longer the fierce genius he was--the greatest one-man blues band who has ever lived--but our sound was still reasonably intact. If your readers are curious about the sound we produced back in the day, I'd recommend our first album, HARLEM BLUES (1991).

    For the record, I have a third book in the works, which will be published in March of 2007, entitled JOURNEYMAN'S ROAD: BLUES WRITINGS, 1995-2005. Among other things, it tells the story of what happened to Sterling in the years after his breakdown, and how he put himself back together with a lot of help from his friends. There's also a major documentary on Satan and Adam in the works. Award-winning filmmaker Scott Balcerek, who worked for George Lucas for years, has followed us around for more than a decade. Look for that--entitled SATAN AND ADAM, not surprisingly--sometime in 2007 as well.


  2. Hi Adam

    Thanks for dropping by and updating us on Sterling's progress.

    Pleased to see that you have also recovered and are writing a 3rd book - I will certainly search that out when it is published.

    I was also pleased to hear that there is going to be a documentary - I had rumours of this but it is good to hear that it is well advanced and who is involved - again I am looking forward to it release.

    Thanks again for taking time out to keep us posted.



  3. Colin--Nice to see the comment/update from Adam here. Go search for Gussow at YouTube. He has posted videos of him, Nat, and Satan. Plus a ton of harmonica lessons.

    I just picked up the book at the library and am enjoying much.

  4. Just wanted to drop by again and let you and your readers know that Mister Satan's Apprentice has been republished by the University of Minnesota Press. It's available at Amazon and also directly from UM Press. Here's a link to a page on my website where people can order: