Barrence Whitfield is a full-throttle soul screamer in the spirit of Little Richard, Don Covay, and Solomon Burke. He has been described as the owner of one incredible pair of lungs, with limitless energy and unmatched enthusiasm for his music and his audience.
Barrence is a rarity in this business--one of a few black, rock n roll singer/entertainers who, Spin Magazine says, maintains a frenzied performance. Whitfield is a performer so consumed with satisfying his audiences that he has been called 'crazed, frenetic and completely unhinged.' Barrence, the singer made up of equal parts Arthur Alexander, Nolan Porter and James Carr this mofo burns.'
BW doesn't want you to come to a show and stand around. He'll do flips if he has to.
"There was one show in England where I opened for The Damned, and I started throwing cans of beer at the audience. The club owners were telling me, 'You can't do that!' I threw them out there for people to drink and have a good time. But I went too far and almost started a riot."
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages shot out of Boston in the mid-'80s with the force of a cannonball. 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 (including a wide-eyed, dewy-eared future Bloodshot co-founder Rob Miller). Along with original Savage Peter Greenberg (The Lyres, DMZ) and Phil Lenker, they released several records on Rounder, became a favorite of BBC DJ Andy Kershaw, toured with the likes of Bo Diddley, Tina Turner, and George Thorogood, and won seven Boston Music Awards. They reunited in 2011 with new Savages Andy Jody on drums, and Tom Quartulli on sax, touring with bands like The Sonics and appearing at SXSW and performing live on famed late night music TV program Later...with Jools Holland on the BBC in 2013.
Perhaps the world is ready for them this time around.
"Papa Barrence's Christmas" on Bloodshot Records' 13 Days of Xmas