“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…..