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Mister Satan's Apprentice:  A Blues Memoir
the unabridged audiobook, narrated by the author


"Gussow arrives at a kind of profundity that eludes many more serious scholars and commentators"

--front page review, Washington Post Book World

Now available at AUDIBLE, Amazon, and iTunes


How does a white kid from the New York suburbs, harmonica in hand, end up earning himself a busker's spot on the Harlem sidewalks next to Mr. Satan, a Mississippi-born legend?  How did an interracial blues duo fare on the streets of New York during a turbulent, fractious time marked by racially-motivated murders in Howard Beach, Bensonhurst, and Crown Heights?  And how did that unlikely pair, as "Satan and Adam," conquer the American blues world, beginning with a cameo appearance in U2's Rattle and Hum (1988) and continuing through their W. C. Handy Award-nominated 1991 debut, Harlem Blues

I wrote Mister Satan's Apprentice:  A Blues Memoir (1998) to tell that story.  It's also the story of a second apprenticeship to Nat Riddles (see photo below), a charismatic but troubled New York harp player who took me under his wing and showed me his secrets before one last tragedy took him down.  Published by Pantheon and Vintage, the memoir got front-page notice in the Washington Post Book World and won the 2000 "Keeping the Blues Alive" award in Literature from the Blues Foundation in Memphis.  It was republished by the University of Minnesota Press in 2009, where it remains in print.

Now, at last, it is available as an unabridged audiobook:  more than fourteen hours of vivid, contemporary American blues life.  I not only tell you the story, but I recreate the voices of the men and women who shaped that life.

This Mister Satan's Apprentice audiobook includes several special features:

       §snatches of my own harmonica playing at appropriate moments, including the "Big River" theme and an early version of "Thunky Fing"

       §extracts of streetside recordings that I made of Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee" and Nat Riddles

       §a never-issued, full-length version of Sterling's anthem, "Freedom For My People."  This is the song that found its way into Rattle and Hum.  We recorded two takes in 1990.  The alternate take was issued in 1993; this take is superior!  Freshly digitized, it appears here, in Chapter 9, for the first time

       §Mr. Satan's "God tape."  I transcribed and adapted it in the published book, but here, in Chapter 14, you get the actual recording--a remarkable lay sermon by an American street-oracle with a huge and compelling persona

More than most books, Mister Satan's Apprentice explodes to life in the audiobook format.  You won't just hear our story; you'll feel the blues that Sterling and I lived, and played. 


Now available at AUDIBLE, Amazon, and iTunes  



Modern Blues Harmonica supports

§The Jazz Foundation of America


§The Innocence Project




ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS