Backwards Sam Firk - The True Blues and Gospel of 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. 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” (Myspace)

The woefully out-of-print 1968 debut LP from Mike Stewart, aka Backwards Sam Firk. This was first release for DC/Maryland’s classic Adelphi Records label. Firk’s fingerpicking prowess is considerable. The legendary John Hurt’s pacing and influence rings through loud & clear on a good many of these renditions. I must admit I tend to prefer the instrumentals, here. I also encourage folks to pursue Sam Firk’s mid-60s work with Joe Bussard and John Fahey on Fonotone Records of Frederick, MD. And if you ever find yourself out that way, I’d also recommed you pay visit to Bussard’s favorite burger spot: Barbara Fritchies. That place has flavor to spare. Just sayin’. Enjoy the Backwards Sam, friends…..

Release Information
Year: Adelphi.
Country: USA.
Label: 1968.
1 I'm Glad Blues 1:57
2 East St. Louis Dry Land Blues 2:30
3 Hey Hey Hey 3:05
4 Cigarette 1:51
5 Candy Man Blues 3:31
6 If You Don't Want Me That Freight Train Whistle's Gonna Blow, Momma 2:12
7 Old Reliable One-Way Gal 3:21
8 Be Ready When He Comes 1:54
9 Old Country Dump 2:50
10 Get Back Old Devil 2:14
11 Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home 3:28
12 West Side Blues 2:19
13 I Be's Troubled 3:53
14 Babe's Piece 2:51
15 Fixin' To Die 2:44
16 The Unbroken Circle 1:59
Comments (6)

6 Responses

  1. nicholab says:

    looks like soundcloud’s acting up, here.

  2. øשlqæda says:

    know the fonotone schtuff, of course. lurking forward

  3. josh moss says:

    can’t seem to get this download to work?

  4. Holly says:

    Nice one , Nick – thank you!

    @Josh – rs not working, but megaupload is fine

  5. Anonymous says:

    thanks: it’s great to see another fingerpicking master’s out of print music back in print.

  6. jasonaud says:

    What an amazing treasure. I had only heard “B. Sam Firk” on the Fonotone Records compilation set, but I had no idea there was more.

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