Get this crazy baby off my head!


Michael Burks

Michael Burks - Iron Man - 2008 - Alligator

He was a nominee for "Best New Artist" in the 2000 Blues Foundation W.C. Handy Awards, but the truth is, Michael Burks already had a lifetime of blues under his belt when considered for that award. A relative newcomer to the form, Burks recorded his self-produced, critically-acclaimed debut in 1997, and released Make It Rain, his Alligator Records debut, in 2001. Burks was born into the blues, his father playing alongside Sonny Boy Williamson, and his grandfather was a Delta-style bluesman from Arkansas. Burks began playing guitar while still in the single-digits, age wise, and began performing shortly thereafter. He grew up in his father's blues club, and although he's worked a day job most of his life, Burks has always found time to pull out his guitar and set it on fire on any available stage. In fact, Burks has earned the nickname "Iron Man" for his dynamic, electrifying, marathon live performances. As such, one has to approach Burks' anticipated third Alligator Records release, Iron Man, as if you're watching the axeman performing live on stage...I suspect that Burks approaches the recording process with much the same passion and commitment that he brings to his stagework. Iron Man certainly jumps the gun right from the starting line, rising with the blisteringly heavy "Love Disease," Burks' rabid wolverine of a guitar ripping and tearing off bloody riffs and surgical solos with maddening fury. It's a sure sign that Iron Man is no run-o-the-mill blues workout, but rather a menacing, towering, white-hot rollercoaster of houserockin' blues...old-school, ice-cold Albert Collins style. The pace slows only slightly with "Strange Feeling," to a deliberate dino-stomp of self-assured rhythms and Burks' throaty, soulful vocals. If anything, the man's solos here are even more reckless and rocking than on the album-opener, Burks opening up a can o' kick-ass and proceeding to flog the listener's ears with shredded guitar strings and his magnificent guitar tone. A more refined, dignified affair, "Empty Promises" brings Iron Man onto a more traditional blues turf, Burks' stormy lyrics matched with a moody, atmospheric, and cloudy soundtrack. The keyboards are mixed to the forefront here, playing well off of Burks' tasteful, nuanced fretwork. The vintage Chicago blues-styled "No More Crying" is provided a romp-n-stomp arrangement, Burks getting reckless as he mixes tightrope solos with drummer Chuck Louden's sturdy beats and cymbal-bashing, and bassist Don Garret's steady heartbeat. The Southern rock-flavored "Don't Waste My Time" offers some nice Gospel-styled keyboard flourishes behind Burks' emotional vocals, the resulting performance taking on a reverent, spiritual air. Wayne Sharp's keyboard work here is inspired, drawing from a number of sainted Dixie-rock traditions, and adding a dignified edge to Burks' restrained guitar-play. "Quiet Little Town" is anything but, Burks and gang shedding the rarified modesty of the previous song to crank out a chainsaw roadhouse rocker, with buzzing guitar riffs, honky-tonk piano-bashing, and rock-em-sock-em rhythms that drive the song right off the stage, through the door, and out into the street to catch its breath. "Hard Come, Easy Go" is a soulful blues-rocker with mournful vocals and Burks' taut fretwork while "Ice Pick Through My Heart" is a classic example of "woman done me wrong" blues music, complete with tearjerker fretwork and dusky, foreboding keyboards. A spot-on cover of Free's "Fire And Water," with plenty o' Kossoff-inspired guitar pyrotechnics and Burks' deep, throaty vocals, is certain to grab the blues-rock fan by the ears and shake loose some spare change. The album-ending "Changed Man" is another raucous roadhouse number, stinging six-string slicing through the thick instrumentation, a steady rocking beat tipping the stage from one end to the other. After the song hits its chaotic crescendo, it ramps down the rpm and exits stage right. It's a surefire way to keep Burks' face-pasting fretwork ringing in your ears for days after hearing it blast out of your speakers. Iron Man is undoubtedly an album directed at those listeners that love them some guitar-driven electric-blues. To this end, almost every song here features some variation of Burks' roughneck guitar-slinging. What Iron Man also does, however, is showcase Burks' growing talents as a singer and songwriter, the artist penning several near-classic tunes here that I could easily see being swiped, er...covered by some blues-rock band sometime in the future. More to the point, though, Burks' six-string skills continue to evolve and expand, the talented fretburner just as capable of bringing a subtle, elegant flourish to a song as he is in tearing off a lightning-quick solo. Iron Man is a blues guitar fan's kind of album - red hot and ready to rock! By & © Reverend Keith A. Gordon, About.com Guide ***1/2 from ***** © 2013 About.com. All rights reserved http://blues.about.com/od/cddvdreview1/fr/MichaelBurks1.htm

Michael Burks is the liberator of the next generation blues guitarists. Although still considered a new blueblood, Burks has been performing for more than 30 years and is capable of expressing the blues like its masters did during the genre’s heyday. You likely know about Burks’ fiery guitar skills, but what about his singing skills? They lie somewhere between crooning and lamenting as substantiated on tracks like Icepick Through My Heart. Nothing is contrived on Iron Man. It all sounds and seems entirely natural. Much of that credit goes to recording live in the studio with Burks’ high-powered touring band versus using studio stars as in the past. Dubbed from Burks’ nickname, which was earned from his lengthy live sets, formidable guitar playing, and ability to drive hundreds of miles non-stop, Iron Man is one of those CDs which is ideal for testing the potency of your sound system. One minute into the first track, a ripping guitar solo lets you know what’s in store for the next hour. Seven of the album’s 12 songs were written or co-written by Burks. Common themes include wasted dreams, bad relationships, and shedding tears. On No More Crying, Burks sings (“I cried so many tears/I have no tears at all”). Jimmy Johnson’s Ashes In My Ashtray is given an interesting reading because Burks’ plaintive vocals are so different from Johnson’s comforting vocals. Best of all you can figure out the lyrics because the former mechanical technician for Lockheed-Martin sings them clearly. The song’s hurt and betrayal burns from the smoldering fretboard just as it did on the original version. Burks’ wild slide guitar and ardent vocals sound very similar to Luther Allison on Strange Feeling. Quiet Little Town is rhythmic radio rock and it contains a memorable riff. Fire And Water – originally made popular by the band Free and later covered by Wilson Pickett – contains another radio friendly rock steady groove. The pop/rock jam Salty Tears is infused with southern soul. Southern rock flourishes on Don’t Waste My Time and Hard Come, Easy Go. Burks projects as much vocal fervor as possible on the former, and then finishes the kill with a torrential guitar exhibition. The latter possesses a raw Tinsley Ellis edge and a blues/rock riff. It was written specifically for Burks by label-mate Ellis. Whether you have experienced the anguish of empty promises or not, you’ll know exactly what it feels like after listening to Burks’ song of the same name. The arrangement and lead guitar work is impassioned and Burks’ vocals are exercised to their maximum. The brilliant track reveals a vulnerable side of Burks. The intensity of the performance easily equals, if not exceeds, All Your Affection Is Gone from I Smell Smoke. Compared to his last two Alligator CDs, the most noticeable difference is the fact that Burks’ influences, e.g., Albert King, are no longer on display. Alligator’s president, Bruce Iglauer, admits “Watching Michael Burks mature into one of the most exciting bluesmen of his generation has been a treat for me.” This CD clearly portrays Burks as one of the best contemporary blues players whose every ounce is made of iron ore. By & © Tim Holek © http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/michael-burks-cd/m-burks-cd-page.html

Listen to the late, great guitarist’s "I Smell Smoke" album, and buy his "Show of Strength" album to hear Michael Burks at his stinging best [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 137 Mb]


1 Love Disease – Burks 3:20
2 Strange Feeling – Burks 4:28
3 Empty Promises – Burks 6:15
4 Salty Tears – Seiger & Feldman 4:33
5 No More Crying - Jones 4:27
6 Ashes in My Ashtray – Johnson 6:07
7 Don't Waste My Time – Burks, Hahn & Wilkin 4:38
8 Quiet Little Town – Burks & Hahn 5:40
9 Hard Come, Easy Go - Ellis 5:05
10 Icepick Through My Heart – Burks, Iglauer & James 6:52
11 Fire and Water – Fraser & Rodgers 4:04
12 Changed Man – Burks & Iglauer 4:45


Michael Burks - Guitar, Vocals
Don Garrett - Bass
Wayne Sharp - Organ, Piano
Chuck "Popcorn" Louden - Drums
Frank Donaldson - Percussion on "Fire And Water"


Born in Milwaukee in 1957, blues guitarist Michael Burks began learning his instrument at an early age -- inspired by his musical family (his father played bass and often performed alongside harmonica legend Sonny Boy Williamson II, while his grandfather was a Delta-style bluesman from Camden, Arkansas). By the age of five, he was playing along with his father, and picked up a thing or two from his parent's record collection -- his father would often give his young son incentive to learn songs by offering him a dollar for each tune he could successfully figure out from beginning to end (a year later he made his performance debut in front of an audience, when he joined a cousin's band on stage). In the early '70s, Burks' father moved his family to Arkansas, and opened up the Bradley Ferry Country Club (a 300-seat juke joint), as Burks was hired as the leader of the house band, backing numerous blues and R&B greats that played the venue. By the time the club closed in the mid-'80s, Burks briefly put his love of blues on the back burner, as he supported himself by taking a job as a mechanical technician for Lockheed Martin, although he still managed to play clubs and regional festivals. In 1997, Burks issued his very first album, From the Inside Out, producing the entire record himself, which immediately racked up impressive reviews from several esteemed blues publications (Blues Access raved the debut was "the most impressive indie in recent memory," while Living Blues named it one of "the best debut discs of the year"). In 2001 Burks issued his debut recording for the Alligator label, Make It Rain, produced in Memphis by Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan) and Bruce Iglauer (Albert Collins, Johnny Winter). Two years later, I Smell Smoke was released, followed by Iron Man in 2008, both on Alligator. In the midst of this successful phase of his recording and performing career, Burks collapsed on May 6, 2012 at the Atlanta airport upon returning to the States after a European tour; he could not be revived after being rushed to the hospital. Michael Burks was 54 years old. © Greg Prato © 2012 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/michael-burks-mn000039124


Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Michael “Iron Man” Burks was a modern-day blues hero. His “Iron Man” moniker was born from his hours-long, intensely physical performances, his fearsome guitar attack and his tough, smoky vocals. It also came from the thousands of miles a year he personally logged behind the wheel of his touring van. His fiery music was driven by an intense, blue collar work ethic that won him a rabid worldwide fan base. Between his blistering guitar sound—which could at any moment become sweetly melodic—and his live charisma, Burks earned four Blues Music Award nominations, including, most recently, the 2012 nomination for Guitarist Of The Year. He won the 2004 Living Blues magazine Critics’ Award for Best Guitarist. GuitarOne named his Alligator Records debut album, Make It Rain, one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings of all time. According to Living Blues, “Burks burns his own signature onto almost everything he touches...he has the ability and the imagination to fuse the best of the old and the new.” When he suddenly died at age 54 on May 6, 2012, the world lost a true musical treasure. Burks’ final album, Show Of Strength (on which he wrote or co-wrote five of the album’s 12 tracks), was recorded and finished just prior to his untimely death. From the explosive opening blast of Count On You to the closing strains of Charlie Rich’s elegiac Feel Like Going Home, Burks’ signature combination of feral yet tuneful guitar work with his gritty, dynamic vocals provided a searing, emotional autobiography in blues. According to Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, “It was my decision to leave this album as we intended it, not as a memorial to a friend and bluesman gone, but as a living, breathing statement, sent straight from Michael’s heart and soul. Although Michael is not here, the music he recorded is indeed his show of his immense strength and spirit. It will live on, confirming forever his status as one of the greatest bluesmen of his generation.” Born in Milwaukee on July 30, 1957, Michael Burks quite literally entered the world with blues in his blood. Joe Burks, Michael’s grandfather, played acoustic Delta blues guitar in his hometown of Camden, Arkansas. Michael’s father, Frederick, was a bass player. For years, Frederick Burks worked in Milwaukee steel mills and refineries during the day and spent his evenings performing in the city’s dimly-lit blues clubs, often backing harmonica legend Sonny Boy Williamson II as well as other touring blues luminaries and local stars. Michael first held a guitar when he was two years old, and Frederick immediately began teaching his son how to play. Equipped with a fully functional, child-size guitar, the young Burks began emulating the bass runs of his father. Soon he was learning scales and songs. By the age of five, he was diligently studying his father’s 45s, aided by an effective lesson plan. “I’ll give you a dollar if you learn this song by the time I’m home from work,” Frederick would tell his young prodigy. Sure enough, Michael would learn that tune inside out and sideways by the time his father walked through the front door. When he was six, Michael played his first gig during a visit to his family’s hometown in Arkansas. The fledgling guitarist took the stage with his cousin’s band and thrilled an unsuspecting audience. In 1971, at age 14, he got his first road gig, touring California as guitarist with Michael Clay and the Fabulous Souls. In the early 1970s, Frederick Burks moved his family back to their southern home. There, along with his siblings, Michael helped his father build The Bradley Ferry Country Club—a 300-seat juke joint. By this time Michael was fronting his own band and backing most of the blues and R&B greats who passed through town, including Johnnie Taylor and O.V. Wright. Business at The Bradley Ferry thrived for years, with Michael Burks leading the house band every Thursday through Saturday. Tables near the stage had to be reserved two weeks in advance. His status as a local celebrity was further heightened by his success at rebuilding and racing motorcycles. Michael, with a new baby daughter to raise, wanted a stable home life and a steady paycheck. He took a job as a mechanical technician for Lockheed-Martin. But his desire to perform persisted, and in 1994 he formed a new band and began playing clubs and regional festivals. Despite his not having a record deal, the high-powered energy of Michael’s performances began to earn him festival offers from Florida to California. Fortunately, Michael’s boss was a blues lover. He recognized Michael’s ability and encouraged it, giving Burks the flexibility of long weekends in order to tour. On more than a few occasions, Lockheed even entertained its clients by flying them to Michael’s festival appearances. Burks self-released his debut CD, From The Inside Out, in 1997. His impassioned, string-bending solos, combined with his fiery tone and smoldering vocals, left no doubt that Michael Burks was an emotionally-charged blues powerhouse. Critics and fans loved what they heard. Living Blues rated it as one of “the best debut discs of the year.” In 2000, Burks received a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist, even though he was already a hard-working professional. It had become clear that Burks needed to pursue his musical career full-time once again. Fueled by a tank full of positive reviews, Michael began to play more festivals than ever before, appearing at the Chicago Blues Festival, Telluride Blues Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival and Kalamazoo Blues Festival, and making headlining appearances at the Mississippi Muddy Waters Blues Festival, Arkansas River Blues Festival and the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, among others. After his powerful set at the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival, Iglauer signed him to Alligator on the spot. With Make It Rain, his 2001 Alligator debut, Burks achieved well-deserved national and international acclaim and became one of the blues world’s fastest-rising stars. He immediately hit the road in support of the CD, bringing his blistering blues to fans across the country, throughout Europe, and even to Australia. Guitar Player said, “Burks plays and sings with conviction, as he proves with each song.” 2003’s I Smell Smoke featured songs driven by Burks’ feral guitar playing and impassioned vocals. As raw and galvanizing as ever, Burks played with the precision and dedication of a seasoned veteran. He received the Blues Music Award nomination for Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. His next album, 2008’s Iron Man, drew even more rave reviews. Blues Revue said, “Burks’ down and dirty guitar screams and wails on every cut. Hard-hitting blues, outrageous tone...blazing, explosive solos. His [music] is full of soul and passion. His vocals possess the rich soulfulness of B.B. and rival his stinging guitar work as his greatest talent.” The unstoppable, heartfelt intensity that Burks brought to the stage was the very core of his appeal. His passionate music and undeniable charisma made him an overwhelming force in the blues. On Show Of Strength, Burks is captured at the absolute height of his musical powers. With taste, melodicism, and always in full command of his mighty guitar playing and soul-baring, fervent vocals, Michael “Iron Man” Burks leaves a legacy of extraordinary music, including the new Show Of Strength—a timeless statement of universal truth from a larger-than-life musician certain to become a blues legend. © 2008 Michael Burks All Rights Reserved © http://www.michaelburks.com/bio.html


A.O.O.F.C said...


Password is aoofc

Pierre said...

thanks , this dude is as smooth as a good bourbon, shame these muso's don't get heard by the masses out there, doing my best to get these guys some air time on radio. cheers Pierre.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Pierre. It's a *ucking disgrace that so much great music is being ignored. I'm trying to promote this stuff as you are. Those Rapidshare cu**s deleted about 2,000 of my files which doesn't help! Anyway, dude we'll keep going and things will change. Thanks, & TTU soon...Paul