This past week I went on a road trip with my dad and my sister up to a place we went as kids. The whole trip was basically a nostalgia tour. On the way up, we blasted the music we always listened to, the stuff that forms the basis of my musical taste: the Beatles, Carol King, Elvis. I suddenly realized where my inexplicable penchant for country music and roots rock came from. (Not my upbringing — I’m a rich kid from Manhattan.)
If it weren’t for the harmonies, the driving basslines, and blues-inspired progressions, where would any of us be? But listening to it now emotionally drove home what we all have known for years: the reason these people got famous is because they could suggest black music, they were ultimately prim, and they were a little … well, I mean this with love and in a comparative sense … boring.
On Under the Savage Sky (Bloodshot Records), Barrence Whitfield and the Savages have resurrected those deep cuts of the ’50s and ’60s — the stuff that was really getting played in those basement bars, road houses, and honky-tonks. This is the stuff the Beatles must have played back in Hamburg, before they were even the Beatles, and before they had to tone it down. Whitfield and his Savages remind us that the real early rock and roll was all about sweat and passion, not pissing your parents off.
Whitfield’s manic preacher-style vocals are only matched by the Savages’ punk rock intensity. The songs have a detached sense of humor if you can stop dancing long enough to listen. But you probably won’t. Whitfield could save your soul or raise the dead, but instead he’s going to make you shake your ass.
ALSO –since you’re reading this you probably believe in giving great musicians their due. If you can, consider chipping in to this documentary about legendary drummer Bernard Purdie.
Originally posted on Adobe & Teardrops