LIVE REVIEW: Barrence Whitfield @ The Cluny (13.11.14) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photograph: Nick Wesson

Barrence Whitfield is so full of soul, he was called Barry White when he was born and only changed it to Barrence Whitfield when the Walrus of Love hit the charts in the mid seventies.

Like all the great soul-stirrers raised on gospel, Whitfield also played in rock bands as a teenager and has soul, funk and vintage R’n’B flowing through his veins. In the past he’s been compared to Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, Solomon Burke and James Brown but this is more to do with his fierce performances and raucous vocal style than any over-slick stage presence.

Whitfield walks onto a stage and lets his voice do the work. Intense, energetic, soulful, sweaty, drenched in music history and well studied in how to take an audience through the highs and lows of “a show”, Whitfield and his band pull the Cluny crowd into their orbit, wring them out and leave them completely drained.

Now that James Brown has passed on to the chitlin circuit in the sky, surely Barrence Whitfield deserves the crown of the hardest working man in showbiz?

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