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Barrence Whitfield

December 19, 1995 OHC326 84 min.


Musician. Born June 13, 1955. Formed the Savages with Peter Greenberg, 1983. Teamed with country singer-songwriter Tom Russell for two critically acclaimed albums, Hillbilly Voodoo and Cowboy Mambo, early 1990s. His recording of “Irma Jackson” appeared on the 1994 tribute album to Merle Haggard, Tulare Dust.

Interview Summary

1995 December 19
(1 hour, 24 minutes)
Performer Barrence Whitfield talks about the development of his career and the role of African American performers in country music. Discussion includes his childhood and early musical influences; his early bands; his move to Boston; his first recording; origin of the Savages; his recordings with the Savages; his popularity in Europe; teaming with Tom Russell and recording the country albums Hillbilly Voodoo and Cowboy Mambo; his interest in country music; comments on the lack of popular success for African American country artists; his work on a Merle Haggard tribute album; comments on the similarities between country, rhythm & blues, and gospel; and future plans for his career.

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