Thursday, September 20, 2007

IFP: Satan and Adam

In the October issue of Downbeat, James Blood Ulmer rejects the “Devil Blues” vision of the music, stating: “when I made this record I was trying to make sure that I had the stories I was talking about be pleasing to God. My songs aren’t about the devil at all.” The blues artist born Sterling Magee, who performed under the moniker Mr. Satan obviously tacked a different course. Together with harpist Adam Gussow they formed the biblical duo Satan and Adam, whose careers will be documented in an eponymously titled documentary.

Satan/Magee in his prime was an elemental force who dominated the duo with his sheer energy. However, recent years have been troubled, leaving his continued musical career in question. These episodes have been detailed in articles collected in Gussow’s latest book, Journeyman Blues (reviewed here), following up his hit memoir of life with his fearsome mentor, Mister Satan’s Apprentice. The third act of the film remains to be shot (an extended trailer was screened at IFP, a shorter one can be found here), but Satan and Adam presents great dramatic potential.

Satan and Adam are actually one of the better known blues combos, as a result of Gussow’s books, performances at international festivals, and their original chance breakthrough appearing in U2’s Rattle and Hum, in their full street performance glory. Satan and Adam the documentary ought to find an audience, particularly if it includes a triumphant second coming of Satan (Magee).