Review: Satan and Adam

I'm a big fan of rockumentaries although Satan and Adam, the film I'm reviewing today, isn't about rock music. It's about blues, and it's fascinating and fabulous with the music you'll hear.

The story of a young white man and an old black man will fascinate you. When you first hear the old blues man play, you instinctively know he must have been someone known for his talent.

From the opening minutes with the young man looking for a way to asuage the pain of a break-up, you get the sense that something significant is happening.

Adam Gussow was the young man who found the release he needed by playing harmonica with the old blues man who was a daily fixture on the streets of Harlem.

As the story progresses, one learns the blues man was Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee, a talented guitarist who played with some of the greatest names in the music business. 

Adam and Satan were meant to be. Eventually they played in much bigger arenas than a city street. Sterling Magee was as complicated and conflicted as he was talented. The duo lasted 12 years before splitting up around 1998.

By 2005, Adam Gussow was a professor of English Studies at the University of Mississippi, and Sterling Magee was living in Florida at an adult care facility. Gussow went to visit the blues man only to learn a stroke had left him unable to play.

If the duo's story were an opera, the intermezzo would be that Magee regained his ability to play the guitar. In fact, music rejuvenated him. He and Gussow were once again a duo for a few years.

The documentary, actually filmed over a 20+ year period, is life affirming and makes one believe in Destiny. These 2 men from such disparate backgrounds were destined to meet and make beautiful blues music together.

Sadly, Mr. Magee, still living in Florida, passed away in September 2020 from complications of CoVid-19.

Takeaway Truth

If you're a Netflix subscriber, by all means watch Satan and Adam. The music will make you wish you'd had the privilege of seeing them perform in person.

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