Here’s a review for one you may have missed.
Satan & Adam is a documentary about Adam Gussow and how he met and came to play the blues with a man who calls himself Mister Satan. The story begins in 1986 when a young Adam then a recent college grad gets dumped by his girlfriend and ventures uptown to the Harlem section of New York City. There he meets Mister Satan, a one man blues band playing on the street. Adam, a harmonica player, pulls out his mouth harp and asks to sit in, and with that their relationship began.
We later find out that Mister Satan is really Sterling Magee, a legendary guitar player who once played on Ray Charles’ Tangerine record label for acts like Little Anthony and the Imperials. After becoming frustrated with the establishment, Magee dropped out of the mainstream music industry and became a street performer in Harlem.
Adam is our point-of-view character. We follow him as a stranger in a strange land, a middle class white guy who decides to quit his job and play the blues on the streets of Harlem. Magee is the mystical sage, the real deal who’s seen it all. He’s the Yoda to Adam’s Luke Skywalker if Yoda were a blues man and Luke carried a harmonica instead of a light-saber. The two have real chemistry both as friends and as musicians, and their relationship is the heart of the film. The documentary is unflinching in its look at their unlikely marriage, their triumphs and failures.
We track the pair from their meeting in ’86 to the present. There’s archival footage of them playing on the street, recording, and touring over the years. This film will keep viewers guessing and offers quite a few surprises through it’s superb use of editing.
This documentary has everything you’d want in a movie, twists and turns, emotional moments, and compelling characters. Satan & Adam is a testament to the universal language of music and how it can bring people together. It’s a story of second chances and serves as an inspiration to anyone who is still pursuing their dreams late in life. If you’re in need of some hope and motivation to start your year or you just love the blues, I highly recommend it. Satan & Adam is now streaming on Netflix.