A potent dose of contemporary blues, almost crushing in its intensity. Burks wields his axe like a man possessed, breathing fire into chilling blues and hard-charging rockers with a fearsome guitar attack and deep, soul-packed vocals. "A fierce guitar slinger and exciting, soulful singer...phenomenal power." -- CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
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Michael Burks Guitars and Vocals
Wayne Sharp Organ and Piano
Don Garrett Bass
Chuck “Popcorn” Louden Drums
Frank Donaldson percussion on “Fire And Water”
Produced by Bruce Iglauer and Michael Burks
Recorded and mixed by Blaise Barton at Joyride Studios, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Dan Stout and Bruce Iglauer at Colossal Mastering, Chicago, IL
Packaging design by Kevin Niemiec
Photos by Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve
Alligator logo designed by Michael Trossman
They call him the Iron Man, and he’s earned the name. He’s earned it with his hours-long, intensely physical performances. He’s earned it with the steely attack of his guitar playing, pouring out brilliant, molten solos that build from one verse to the next, until you think he’ll wring the neck off of his Flying V. He’s earned it with the passion and depth of his singing. And he’s earned it offstage too, spending endless hours behind the wheel of his battered van (when he isn’t underneath it making repairs), driving from one end of the U.S. to the other, hauling his band and his trailer full of gear from one club or festival to the next.
This is Michael Burks’ third album for Alligator, and it’s been a thrill to watch him grow as an artist—from the juke joint-raised bluesman from tiny Camden, Arkansas playing clubs across the South into a giant of the blues, headlining festivals around the world. In those few years, Michael has honed his own huge guitar sound, bringing a level of rock intensity to the tasteful soulfulness of his playing, and finding his own singing voice, full of emotion and energy. For my money, if anyone in the blues can fill the void left by Freddie King and Luther Allison, it’s Michael Burks.
To capture all the fire of Michael’s live performances, we decided to cut this album with his seasoned road band rather than with the Memphis studio aces who supported him on his last two records. Wayne, Popcorn and Don have backed Michael on literally hundreds of gigs, and they know his every move. So we were able to cut these tunes almost completely live in the studio, with Michael lighting a fire under the band just like he does onstage.
This album captures Michael “Iron Man” Burks at full force, doing what he does so brilliantly a hundred nights a year—delivering raw, up-to-the minute, electrified and electrifying blues with a master’s touch.
Michael Burks thanks: Bruce and the crew at Alligator Records, Blue Mountain Artists, Ray Stiles, Michael & Sue at MooreTone Guitars, DR Strings, EMG Pickups, Myles at Groove Tubes, The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, George’s Majestic Lounge, 930 Blues Club, Dr. Z Amps, Voodoo Pickups, Blaise for engineering the record, Bensberg Music, Tim White Pickups, Drew Berlin and Dave Belzer at Guitar Center, Rene Martinez, Terry Mueller, Graph Tech Guitar Labs, Charley’s Guitar Shop, Guitar Center Vintage Room Hollywood, all our friends at radio, magazines, newspapers and venues, and most of all, the FANS.
With special thanks t John Hahn, Li’l Red, Doc and Bruce for believing. Wayne Sharp, Don Garrett and Chuck Louden, The West Coast Crew (Billy T, Mike C, Mike M, Butch, The Short Dogs I & II, and Gary), The Dirty South Crew (Doc Tim Wilkin and family, Michael Copeland, Don Browning, Greg Arnold, Big Harry, Lance Higgins, Joe Pitts, the Fletcher family, Larry and Laura, Vicky and Jeff, John Davies and Boochie) and my family (my mom Pauline, Bobbie (Li’l Red), Brittney, Bri-Bri, Reggae, Keyno, Sherman, Bobby Davis, Suzie, Kelvin & Deloris, Aunt Ida, Sonny, Samantha, Spooky Forman, Mama Pat, Buddy, Travis, Ruby Griffin, J’Anna, Tomas, Dallas and Brody).
Alligator Records thanks: Bobbie Murray, Tim Wilkin, Sam Veal and Jerry Pillow.
Dedicated in memory of Les Walker and Jack Nau.
Michael Burks is booked by Blue Mountain Artists: (704)525-1559, firstname.lastname@example.org