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Backwards Sam Firk - JPop.com
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Backwards Sam Firk

Backwards Sam Firk

Backwards Sam Firk


In the early 1960s, Mike Stewart adopted the professional name of Backwards Sam Firk. "My dad used to call me Backwards Sam because my initials are MAS," he explained. He recorded for the private label of the eccentric Maryland record collector Joe Bussard in the early 60s, on his own, with John Fahey and in impromptu groups. Mike's pseudonym came to wider notice in the late 1960s when he was associated with Gene Rosenthal's Adelphi Records, an independent Blues label based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Read more on Last.fm
In the early 1960s, Mike Stewart adopted the professional name of Backwards Sam Firk. "My dad used to call me Backwards Sam because my initials are MAS," he explained. He recorded for the private label of the eccentric Maryland record collector Joe Bussard in the early 60s, on his own, with John Fahey and in impromptu groups. Mike's pseudonym came to wider notice in the late 1960s when he was associated with Gene Rosenthal's Adelphi Records, an independent Blues label based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The first item in its catalog was his album "The True Blues & Gospel of Backwards Sam Firk," consisting of scrupulous interpretations of repertoire learned from Mississippi John Hurt, Bo Carter, Big Bill Broonzy and other Blues masters of the 1920s and 30s.

A couple of later albums were duets with guitarist Stephan Michelson, alias Delta X. Adelphi conducted several field trips to Blues locales to trace and record half-forgotten musicians. Mike was always on hand, whether to jog the performers' memories by playing them their own music, or to provide accompaniment. In Mississippi he tracked down and played with the elusive Mississippi John Hurt; in Memphis he played with Richard "Hacksaw" Harney; in Chicago with Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim, David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Big Joe Williams; and in St Louis with Henry Brown and Henry Townsend. Harney and Townsend were favorites of his, as was Mississippi John Hurt.

He also worked with Nick Perls' Blue Goose label, accompanying the singer and mandolinist Yank Rachell. Sadly, Mike passed away October 11, 2007 of a sudden massive heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their children, Jesse and Carolina; and by his mother and step-father, Jean and Stan Wexler. This profile is maintained by his loving family, who miss him very much. Read more on Last.fm.

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