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June 2001

Michael Burks
Make It Rain
Alligator Records

Make way for Michael Burks, a burly man of Albert King-esque stature who unveils his own brand of blues power on his Alligator Records debut, Make It Rain. Toting a Gibson Flying V, Burks wails with the kind of ferocious intensity that helped Albert King single-handedly launch the blues-rock idiom. On tunes like the hard-charging opener "Hit the Ground Running," the imposing funk of "Got a Way With Women" and the gospel-flavored "What Can a Man Do?" Burks displays his extraordinary chops and emotive, real-deal vocals. On his autobiographical "Everybody's Got Their Hand Out," a telling tale of corruption, shakedowns and payoffs, and the traditional slow blues of "Beggin' Business," he comes closest in spirit to the late, great Albert King. "Thank God for Fools" tips into the rockier side of blues-rock while the goodtime, B-3 organ-fueled shuffle "Heartless" is more traditional juke-joint fare, delivered with Burks' signature warm-toned sustain and Herculean string-bending prowess. He also turns in an energized, contemporary reading of the old Freddie King vehicle "Pack It Up" and closes on a stirring note with an unaccompanied Deltafied original, "Voodoo Spell," performed with just the right touch of raggedy-ass distortion on his electric guitar along with a deep reservoir of down-home feel.

Originally published in June 2001
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