Make It Rain

Michael Burks

Alligator Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Sometimes, I'll get an e-mail or a phone call from one of my publicist friends, wondering why it's taken me so long to get to a particular disc. Sometimes, it's that I get so swamped that I can't bump that disc any higher up the ladder without pissing someone else off. Other times, when I do listen to the disc, I find myself thinking that I missed something important... so I go back and keep listening to it until I find what I didn't hear before, or at least explain what was missing in the first place.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Case in point. I have spent the better part of a month listening to Make It Rain, the sophomore album (and first release on Alligator) from blues guitarist/singer Michael Burks. And for some reason, I just don't see myself getting excited by this release.

Oh, it's not that Burks is a subpar guitarist or vocalist; he proves throughout the 12 tracks on this disc he can hold his own well. But there is something lacking in this recording - namely, raw emotion - that keeps the album from becoming anything special.

Burks does try to keep the listener on their toes by kicking things off with an eclectic rhythm pattern to "Hit The Ground Running"... if only the album did just that. This is an early warning sign for Make It Rain, suggesting that Burks was going through the motions on this one.

And it's not that Burks can't pull a stellar performance out of his hat. Tracks like "Everybody's Got Their Hand Out," "Thank God For Fools" and "Voodoo Spell" all show the potential that Burks - and this disc - have. But these moments don't come often enough to save things in the long run.

I don't doubt that Burks has the power in him to turn in a performance that would make the paint peel. It could well be that Burks's power comes out in the live show, and any studio recording just doesn't do him justice. (I haven't seen Burks in concert, so I can't vouch for this.) But Make It Rain, while having its moments, isn't the best vehicle for Burks's talents. If you're looking for the must-have blues disc for this year, Make It Rain sometimes feels like you're crossing the desert with an empty canteen.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Alligator Records, and is used for informational purposes only.