"Show of Strength" (Alligator Records) is the final CD cut by blues-rocker Michael "Iron Man" Burks shortly before his death pn May 16 at the age of 54.
It was released last week, and Bruce Iglauer, head of Alligator, said in the liner notes that he did not want the album released as a memorial, but rather as a "living, breathing statement ... from Michael's heart and soul."
And that's just what we got.
"Show of Strength" is Burks at his peak -- tough, chunky guitar; fine songwriting; razor-edge backing; tight production and a fierce blues attitude.His nickname came from his penchant for gut-wrenching live shows that tested his endurance.
Burks had been building a strong following in recent years on the strength of his steamy playing, and seemed to be touring constantly. And his original songs gained power as he took his own life as inspiration. He wrote more for this album than any previous work.
This CD is filled with outstanding songs, but it's capped by the poignant sentiments of the Charlie Rich song, "Feel Like Going Home" on the final track, rich with feeling and, as it turned out, deep with meaning.
Here's an audio-video of "Feel Like Going Home":