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Michael Burks

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Show Of Strength

1. Count On You

2. Take A Chance On Me, Baby

3. Storm Warning

4. Can You Read Between The Lines?

5. Cross Eyed Woman

6. Little Juke Joint

7. 24 Hour Blues

8. Valley Of Tears

9. Since I Been Loving You

10. I Want To Get You Back

11. What Does It Take To Please You?

12. Feel Like Going Home

x

Track List: Iron Man

1. Love Disease

2. Strange Feeling

3. Empty Promises

4. Salty Tears

5. No More Crying

6. Ashes In My Ashtray

7. Don't Waste My Time

8. Quiet Little Town

9. Hard Come, Easy Go

10. Icepick Through My Heart

11. Fire And Water

12. Changed Man

x

Track List: I Smell Smoke

1. All Your Affection Is Gone

2. One More Chance

3. I Smell Smoke

4. Time I Came In Out Of The Rain

5. Hard Love

6. Miss Mercy

7. Let The Door Knob Hit You

8. Lie To Me

9. Willing To Crawl

10. I Hope He's Worth My Pain

11. Good Man, Bad Thing

12. Snake Eggs

x

Track List: Make It Rain

1. Hit The Ground Running

2. Got A Way With Women

3. Beggin' Business

4. What Can A Man Do

5. Mean Old Lady

6. Everybody's Got Their Hand Out

7. Thank God For Fools

8. Make It Rain

9. Heartless

10. Don't Let It Be A Dream

11. Pack It Up

12. Voodoo Spell

Comments

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I hope he's jammin' with albert and stevie ray. Lookout
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lalessing
one of my best all time finds in the bargain bin..wish I could have caught him live..what a shame but he's with gooood company.
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I am shocked. Did not know. He,s with Charlie...
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Mean Old Lady!!!!! Wow! I love this song!!!!!!!!
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I say Michael in Los Angeles area Clubs in the Valley and in Arcadia at a very intimate venue. He played for Hours and simply torched the place with amazing soaring solo's. He used to feed off the crowd and knew how to deliver what they came to see. What a show! Miss him.
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tfq1
Never heard of this guy. He is good.
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F*CKIN AMAZING!!
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He's flat out laying down. Sad, s**t happens.
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Born near where I live in Milwaukee, and relocated (transported ) to the land where blues rule, he had the best of locales in him. What a joy to hear. Thank you for putting him in your rotation, Pandora. I have him in my Sean Costello station, two bright lights of blues that left us too young.
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Another blues man , died to young!
So much soul. In him!!
Beautiful!
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Truly righteous rokkin blues, shame 2 go so soon. Must B hangin out with so many legends now.
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Sometimes I f
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I saw Micheal grow up in Camden Arkansas, playing guitar when he was in elementary school in local talent shows. Awesome talent RIP
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TOp
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eddieleedavi s
Love the Blues and Michael is the epitome of the Blues. his Guitar playing is some of the best I've heard
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SMOKIN'..... . . . . . . . . . . I can smell the Rain... Thanks again Pandora
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Fantastic stuff.... what a shame. Way too young. Make it rain buddy.....
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Great style
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,one off the best. That ever. Lived
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Awesome!!
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God rest his soul, I love his style
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rwilleman
I got to hear Michael 5 times and his searing guitar and heartfelt singing always left the crowd satisfied. He would come out blasting for a 2 1//2 hour set take a short break and do another blistering long set. He was happy to talk, take photos with his fans and is missed by all.
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duhvidski
Burks putting it down. Makin it rain
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Michael Burks is a real Blues Man great picking
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You tell it like it is, love you
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Clearly taken too soon along with many other blues greats. RIP Michael Burks
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vegaschevygu y
Another gifted bluesman gone to play someplace better.
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RIP Michael. I love you.
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Make it rain baby
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Very impressive. Reminds me of Taj Mahal. Just good groovy music.
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In my mood....vodk a on the rocks, loving my ol'man. .Nena n Kenny , Forever!!!!
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always on my play list!
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R. I. P big Mike you will always be missed.
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Michael Burks all of us miss you. Rest In Peace and play the Blues forever.
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we love you Michael and miss seeing your smile, May you rest in peace and make music in heaven, I am waiting to hear you again, Your friend Bill and Mary.
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liljs2001
If you think all the great bluesmen have died suggest you listen to Tab Benoit, Joe Bonamassa, Jimmie Vaughn just to name a couple....Wh a t about BB still doin it when most folks are content with a rocking chair. I'm looking forward to listening to and discovering more. I just discovered Jonny Lang this year and he's been around for two decades, I thought he was someone new. Ya'll keep playin'em and i'll keep listening and pickin along with ya.
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seems like all the greats except Claptin are gone!
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What a classy blues man RIP
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zina77
what a great sound.. so loving...
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Gone too soon . . .
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Michael was a good friend and he always had time for a visit every time I attended one of his gigs. We first met in Arkansas where we both lived and after I came to Florida , I saw Mike and the band anytime they came down here. Yes , He was The Real Thing RIP Michael
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Very few musician could make a guitar talk like he did. Saw him every time he came to St Louis. Thanks for the music Michael. Rest in peace
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true blues guitar,smoki n '
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OMG - Just decided to see if I could find an email address to see when Michael Burke would come to the West Coast again and find out that he's passed away!!! Saw him at least 4-5 times - most in Kansas City, MO's Grand Emporium and Knuckleheads - once on Ventura Blvd. in San Fernando Valley. He was never a disappointme n t ! Always a fantastic blues player. Danced to his music ALWAYS. He WILL be missed! LH
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We'll miss you. RIP
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RIP Michael. We love you always!!!
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Michael Burks is a BMF
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dman2040
This man simply kicks butt!
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Seen him at the Hayward city blues fest in ca.Got to talk to him after the show.I asked him where his gibson flying V was.He told me someone stole it.To a blues guy thats like stealing his woman.
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Hardest Working Blues man I knowl.Hope to see him in person again.The Man know how to give a show.
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