Be Here Now: Barrence Whitfield @ Postively 4th Street, Troy, 2/05/10
Barrence Whitfield exudes more rock, soul, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and funk than his small roundish frame would belie; he’s drawn comparisons to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Little Richard and Soul Brother Number One, James Brown…heady company, indeed. Whitfield makes a stop at Positively 4th Street in Troy this Friday, with local openers Ian Brian, Big Frank, and The Knyghts of Fuzz (featuring ex-members of the Lawn Sausages).
You best believe Boston’s Barrence Whitfield is built to entertain. He’s a non-stop bop-till-you-drop take-no-prisoners leave-it-all-out-on-the-floor ball-of-energy he-will-move-you kind of performer!
A few years back Whitfield played one of the big Empire State Plaza summer concerts. The thing that sets this appearance apart, other than the more intimate club setting, is the return to his Savage roots. Monkey Hips bassist (and Albany’s own) Jim Haggerty said, “This is a more rocking sound, where over the recent past the backing bands had become a little too big band slick.” This promises to be a return to the down-and-dirty sound that launched him to prominence in the 80’s as Barrence Whitfield and the Savages with a trio of releases on the Rounder Label.
Whitfield parleyed this into opening slots for Bo Diddley, Tina Turner, George Thorogood, Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Richard Thompson and many more. He found an even larger audience in Europe with a taste for his brand of music and made a good living performing overseas. The 90s brought a string of collaborations and tribute recordings.
But Whitfield is far from sitting pat. 2007 found his music on the soundtrack to the John Sayles film, “Honeydripper.” Whitfield and his four piece combo Monkey Hips are touring in support of his current CD release, “Raw, Raw, Rough.”
Credit where credit is due; P4th proprietor Artie Fredette has a passion for good music and doesn’t mind going out on a limb in bringing in a killer act. Complaining about the scene is easy; making the scene, in this case, is well worth it. Here’s a little proof:
(Written by Matt Mac Haffie)