CD I Smell Smoke (CD 146299),
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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 Doorknob 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
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4892

  • Credits
    EngineerJason Latshaw

    Personnel: Michael Burks (vocals, guitar); Vasti Jackson (guitar); Billy Gibson (harmonica); Ernest Williamson (keyboards); David Smith (bass); Steve Potts (drums, percussion).
    Producers: Michael Burks, Bruce Iglauer, Jim Gaines.
    Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee.
    Personnel: Michael Burks (vocals, guitar); Billy Gibson (harmonica); Ernest Williamson (keyboards); Steve Potts (drums, percussion).
    Audio Mixers: Jason Latshaw; Jim Gaines.
    Recording information: Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN.
    Photographer: Paul Natkin.
    A continuation of the sound established on his Alligator debut, I Smell Smoke is even more impressive than its much-heralded predecessor. While vocally Michael Burks still invites comparison to Albert King, especially on gospel-fried ballads like "Lie to Me" (the Flying V guitar he sports on this album's cover shot further reinforces the similarities between the two artists), his guitar work has become more electrified and confident. With a tone sounding at times like Eric Clapton's psychedelic work in Cream and a rugged four-piece band supporting him, this is a tough, uncompromising contemporary blues/blues-rock/R&B album that doesn't pull punches. Co-produced and mixed by veteran Jim Gaines, the sound is professional but not polished, with Burks' strong persona commanding attention. However, the songs -- which are far above average -- are as important as the performance. Mostly written by outside sources, Burks avoids the crowd-pleasing covers that populate his live shows, instead digging into obscure tunes such as Latimore's "Let the Doorknob Hit You," delivering them with his gutsy punch. His playing often takes on a Buddy Guy-styled intensity, with leads that reach out of the speakers, wrapping around and reeling you in. Even the slow blues tracks are played full-bore, but the closing "Snake Eggs," with just guitar and Billy Gibson's fiery, overdriven Little Walter-styled harmonica, shows that Michael Burks doesn't need help to create all the smoke he wants. ~ Hal Horowitz

  • Critic Reviews
    Living Blues (9/03, p.79) - "...Michael Burks' voice, like that of his role model Albert King, is dusky and sensual yet shot through with virility....His fretwork is skin-tight yet emotionally explosive..."
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