CD Review: Barrence Whitfield and the Savages: Dig Thy Savage Soul (Bloodshot, 2013)
After a healthy run in the latter half of the 1980s, Barrence Whitfield and the original lineup of the Savages left the scene. Fast forward a decade and Whitfield and guitarist Peter Greenberg were back with a new lineup for 2011’s Savage Kings. Whitfield’s delivery is as wild as ever, with growls, howls and shouts, and the latest edition of the Savages rocks even harder than the original. This is equal parts soul and garage rock, lending it the feel of sweaty Northwest frat rockers fronted by a hard-soul vocalist who’s next gig you’d make a point of catching. Greenberg’s incessant rhythm chords and twanging riffs drive from the top, but the rhythm section never takes a breather and the sax and B3 squeeze themselves into whatever space is left (or, when there’s no room, they just push everyone else out of the way). Whitfield borrows Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ incredulous histrionics for “I’m Sad About It,” but the album’s mix of covers and originals is never less than original. You can set your volume knob low, but this one will still play LOUD.