An American soul and R&B vocalist, best known as the frontman for Barrence Whitfield & the Savages.
In the 1990s, he contributed tracks to Merle Haggard and Don Covay tribute albums, and recorded two albums with country music singer-songwriter Tom Russell. The album Ritual of the Savages was released in 1995. In 1997, he began working with a New Hampshire-based jump blues and rockabilly octet, The Movers. As well as continuing to perform in the UK and Europe, he has also contributed to film scores, including the 2007 film, Honeydripper.
(He) 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.’ – BLOODSHOT RADIO
In December 2010, Whitfield, Peter Greenberg (DMZ, Lyres, Customs), and Phil Lenker (Lyres) were joined by Andy Jody (Gazelles!, Pearlene, Oxford Cotton, Long Gones) and saxophonist Tom Quartulli to perform two live shows and record a new Barrence Whitfield and The Savages record. That album, Savage Kings, was released on Spanish Label Munster Records and in the US on Shake it Records. In 2013 Whitfield signed with Bloodshot Records, on which he issued Dig Thy Savage Soul in September 2013. Whitfield again toured Europe, including an appearance on the BBC’s Jools Holland Show. A followup, Under the Savage Sky, was recorded in January 2015 at UltraSuede studios and released in August of that year; Whitfield described the album as “giving the kids a musical karate chop to the head.” A third album for Bloodshot, Soul Flowers of Titan, was issued in 2018.
Barrence Whitfield and the Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs from the Sun Ra Cosmos was issued by Modern Harmonic on May 3, 2019. The album features idiosyncratic covers of songs composed by the Afrofuturist bandleader Sun Ra. The album, co-produced by Irwin Chusid and Brother Cleve and recorded over a span of 25 years, features collaborations with the Concussion Ensemble, Waitiki, Milton Reder , and others.
- 1984 – Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, Mamou
- 1985 – Dig Yourself, Rounder
- 1987 – Call of the Wild EP, UK Demon/Rounder
- 1987 – Ow! Ow! Ow!, Rounder
- 1989 – Live Emulsified, Rounder
- 1990 – Let’s Lose It, France, New Rose
- 1992 – Savage Tracks, France, New Rose
- 1993 – Cowboy Mambo (with Tom Russell), East Side Digital
- 1993 – Hillbilly Voodoo (with Tom Russell), East Side Digital
- 1995 – Ritual of the Savages, Ocean Music
- 2011 – Savage Kings, Munster Records, rereleased, Shake It Records
- 2013 – Dig Thy Savage Soul, Bloodshot Records
- 2015 – Under The Savage Sky, Bloodshot Records
- 2018 – Soul Flowers of Titan, Bloodshot Records
- 2019 – Barrence Whitfield and the Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs from the Sun Ra Cosmos, Modern Harmonic
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