Barrence Whitfield & the Savages ‘Dig Thy Savage Soul’ – NEW MUSIC REVIEW

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Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#874 in the Series) is Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Dig Thy Savage Soul

Walking the genre splitting tightrope of blues, soul, and rock, with an incendiary vibe that would make Dante himself blush, Boston based legends, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages have released “Dig Thy Savage Soul” on Bloodshot records, their first full length record since 2011.

Stalwarts on the Boston club scene throughout the 1980’s, their live shows were a scorched earth, leave it all on stage full out of body experience, an energy that could equally be displayed in a punk rock club, a rockabilly hoedown, or a shoulder to shoulder high energy soul venue.  While 2011’s Savage Tracks, an album recorded overseas by a Spanish record company, was somewhat of a critical success, it was time to secure an American record deal, and the pairing of the band with Bloodshot Records with their eclectically brilliant and genre diverse stable of mind blowing artists is a marriage made in musical heaven.

Opening with “Corner Man,” a greasy garage rock stunner that would have felt right at home in the vintage MC5 catalogue or a more present day White Stripes album, the blueprint is set here with all band members on full dynamic display including guitarist Peter Greenberg and bass player Phil Lenker from the early days, Andy Jody on drums, a rise to the back of the room horn section, and the always welcome and groovy Hammond b-3 making a guest appearance. The guitar interlude here is Chuck Berry by way of The Blasters, and the palpable energy on display from jump street floats through the song as well as the entire album.

If the vocal energy of Barrence WhitfieldBarrence Whitfield-9001website was ever questioned after all these years, “My Baby Didn’t Come Home” will silence any doubters and answer all of the “does he still have it” questions. The aggressively gnarly vocals on this track sound like they are coming from the devil spawn of vintage “Live Bullet” era Bob Seger and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Does he still have it?  Hell to the yeah he does.

The trend continues with the classic rock sounding “Oscar Levant,” a song that is titled after the pianist, actor, gadabout from the 60’s, and is stylistically a bit different than most of the other songs on this set, but ear pleasing none the less.  “Bread” continues the Silver Bullet Band section of the album, and reminds us of the age old axiom “There’s only one thing in this here world to make you popular with all of the girls, and that’s bread, that’s what I said”

“Hangman’s Token” gives us the quintessential Barrence Whitfield sound, and is the best tune on the album. Scorching guitar, aggressive vocals, and a band that is locked in down and dirty makes this for an inspired listen, and on “Daddy’s Gone To Bed” Barrence channels Screamin’ Jay Hawkins by way of Tom Waits for a truly delicious Rockabilly dance party.

“Show Me Baby” takes us for a ride on the soul train with Barrence wearing his finest Otis Redding suit, and “Sugar” has New Orleans via Bo Diddley written all over it.

Rather than make the album seem uneven, the varied vocal textures and musical styles give Dig Thy Savage Soul a fresh, waiting to see what is around the next turn feel. The sound is retro cool and can stand up quite favorably next to the current wave of younger bands that are making a name for themselves by tugging on the apron strings of the Rock and Roll bands of the 60’s and 70’s.

If you like good old fashioned Rock & Roll, buy this album.  If you are a fan of gritty Soul and real Blues, buy this record, and if you are looking for a fresh, unique listening experience that could have been released in 1969, 1979, 1989, or 2013, most certainly buy this album.Please visit and LIKE our facebook page

– Walt Falconer, Houston Texas, USA

Track Listingberrence

  1. The Corner Man
  2. My Baby Didn’t Come Home
  3. Oscar Levant
  4. Bread
  5. Hangman’s Token
  6. Daddy’s Gone to Bed
  7. Blackjack
  8. Hey Little Girl
  9. I’m Sad About It
  10. Show Me Baby
  11. Sugar
  12. Turn Your Damper Down

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Listen to an interview below….

Posted by Larry Carta


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