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BARRENCE WHITFIELD & THE SAVAGES

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages

Soul Flowers Of Titan

    From a far out moon beyond the rings of Saturn to a dingy studio in Cincinnati, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages' new platter embraces a cosmic and groovy unification. It's a wild, electric phantasmagoria of blues, rock, garage, and soul; it blasts off into diverse orbits only to come back together into a singular Savage cosmology. BW&S shot out of Boston in the mid-'80s with the force of a rocket ship. Through their sweaty dance party shows and love of primal soul, they were to R&B what the Cramps were to rockabilly-a gateway musical drug for nascent underground roots mavens.

    Barrence Whitfield & The Savages

    Under The Savage Sky

      "Barrence Whitfield is a treasure, with unbelievable pipes, an unimpeachable discography (with great taste in cover tunes) and undeniable appeal." – POPMATTERS "Showcases a wild musical abandon." - USA TODAY

      When asked about the methods and the madness behind capturing the scorched earth soul of Under the Savage Sky, guitarist Peter Greenberg explained that the band was eager for something "harder and garagier" than their previous record, while still connecting with the energy and originality of the classics. Given that the previous release, Dig Thy Savage Soul (their 2013 Bloodshot debut and first U.S. release in a couple decades), was a 12-round sonic knockout, the R&B wallop of Under the Savage Sky may very well stand for ‘Roundhouse & Beatdown.’ There’s no harder hitter than frontman Barrence Whitfield of Boston, MA. When he hits the boards with the Savages, you’re either gonna ride the energy or be crushed by it. We’re talking Joe Louis, Howlin’ Wolf, Wilson Pickett, Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Barrence has what these greats all possessed, the one thing a trainer cannot teach a fighter: a lust for mayhem.

      The wilder, louder, more insane the Savages bring it, the more BW is ready to attack the mic, to bring it high, to bring it low, to wear you down on the ropes, and eventually drop you. With the raw vocals, thick and nasty guitar tones, and preternaturally locked-in rhythm section, Under the Savage Sky might be the most soulful punk record - or perhaps the most punk soul record - you’ve ever heard. Compact, three minute-or-less blasts rocket back to the explosive heydays of The Dirtbombs and genre godfathers The Sonics. Under The Savage Sky rains soul and brimstone from the heavens. Keep your eyes to the sky... ain’t no umbrella gonna help you here.

      With its raw vocals, thick and nasty guitar tones, and preternaturally locked-in rhythm section, Under the Savage Sky might be the most soulful punk record (or the most punk soul record) you’ve ever heard, raining soul and brimstone from the heavens.

      Shindig Issue #49 - superb 4**** review "rocks like a broken gate in a hurricane, this recording is in your face and in your feet".

      Barrence Whitfield And The Savages

      Dig Thy Savage Soul

        Boston’s legendary Barrence Whitfield & The Savages’ new album Dig Thy Savage Soul is a wealth of atomic-powered, sock it to me R&B and rock & roll hoodoo. Barrence, possessing otherworldly pipes that range from a low feral growl rumbling the nether regions to a scream that would make Little Richard blush, belts out originals and crate-diver covers with the formidable and aptly-named Savages. They keep his back with a punk rock grit and blues ferocity that lives in the frets between Chuck Berry and Jack White. Together, Barrence & the Savages lay down a groovy racket that’s so thick and greasy, you need moist towelettes near the hi-fi.

        Dipping their gut-bucket deep into the well of America’s dirty musical soul, Barrence & the Savages’ sound is a sweaty elixir that enlivens, exorcises, and energizes on Dig Thy Savage Soul. “The Corner Man” bursts out of the gate, as much a child of the Sonics as a father to the Dirtbombs; it’s the Savage-Mobile neutral-slamming out of the garage. “My Baby Didn’t Come Home” and the love letter to the iconoclastic Oscar Levant (a man in chaos in search of frenzy...Google it, man.) burn with a roguish swamp mojo; bonus points for the killer jump-soul horn section. On “Daddy’s Gone to Bed” and the badass Jerry McCain tune “Turn Your Damper Down,” Peter Greenberg’s guitar plays like the lost Sun Records collaboration between Howlin’ Wolf and Carl Perkins. “Hangman’s Token” starts as a low-fi hill country shimmy harkening back to the early days of Fat Possum Records that then explodes into a tasty hard rock feast.

        Out front, Barrence is preaching to a congregation we definitely want to join. “Bread,” a Bobby Hebb B-side done with a Glimmer Twin strut, has Barrencematter-of-factly distilling all the nuance, confusion, and frustration of any relationship into the simple inarguable truth: “Only one thing in this here world/ to make you popular with all the girls/ and that’s BREAD/ that’s what I said.” Lee Moses’s “I’m Sad About It” is a slow burn gospel headbanger, conjuring a completely unhinged Al Green tossing sweat and blood soaked scarves from a fiery pulpit. Sho’ nuff. Where’s that towelette, again?


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