Barrence Whitfield And The Savages - Plus 10 More For The Pot (1984, re-released 2010)

Barrence Whitfield and The Savages are not for everyone. Whitfield is an R&B screamer who fronted an all white band from Boston that played a wild mix of 50s rock and soul. It helps if you're a fan of singers like Little Richard and Wilson Pickett, but even then you may find Whitfield too much to handle.

Originally issued in 1984 as a thirteen song LP that clocked in at under a half hour - then re-released in 2010 with ten additional tracks - this eponymous debut was a sensation in New England's largest city but failed to gain traction anywhere else in America. 

Believe it or not, Whitfield was born with the name Barry White, but his music bares no resemblance to the late, R&B star - not even close. Unlike that romatic balladeer, Whitfield's vocals never smolder. He's constantly on fire and sings with wild abandon.

Guitarist Peter Greenberg and sax player Steve LaGrega also provided explosive performances. The original group was rounded out by Phil Lenker on bass and Howard Ferguson on drums. The Savages have undergone numerous personnel changes since then and the lineup on this debut record has completely turned over several times.

Whitfield still works hard as a solo act - mostly in Europe - where he became a star while remaining largely unknown here at home. He is well known in the UK because a BBC disc jockey taped one of The Savages' Boston gigs for airplay in England and he brought them over to his side of the Atlantic for a tour. Both Robert Plant and Elvis Costello showed up at a Whitfield show and loved what they heard.

The singer's most recent release was Barrence Whitfield and the Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs from the Sun Ra Cosmos in 2019. It's a whole disc of cover songs made famous by Sun Ra Arkestra.

The bottom line is this: even though I like what I've heard of Whitfield's substantial catalog you can easily overdose on his music. The videos below are not among his most terrorizing performances but they are the ones that I've been able to find. 

Whitfield does not appear to have an official website.



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