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"This 'stereo' recording," states the back cover of Barrence Whitfield's comeback album, "is suitable for playback on today's hi-fidelity systems without adverse effect to the stylus." Good thing most of us aren't (I hope) stupid enough to take that literally. It's a compact disc, people! Stick it under a stylus and you'll unleash audio immolation!

Pity and respect the humble, faithful stylus. Stick it into a pizza, a pork chop, a pile of rocks, and it'll destroy itself trying to decode what it finds. Not like that laser on your fancy CD machine, nuh-huh. Knock something off by microns and it'll shut straight up.

So maybe this set needed a vinyl-only release since fidelity (no matter how hi) forms its lynchpin. Whitfield (he had to change his name from Barry White) loves his back 40 of vintage vinyl and pulls only the grooviest punches from its midst. Try finding another set encompassing Van Morrison ("One More Time"), the Sonics ("Strychnine"), and that latter band's I-5 Corridor rivals the Kingsmen ("Long Green" -- no, not "Louie Louie").

Slouching toward Social Security, our man no longer definitively commands that wail that not only strips paint from interior walls but sweeps it onto the damn dance floor. He compensates with sweat. "Long Green" may be "Have Love, Will Travel" with different lyrics, but Whitfield swings on the frustration of a man who works all week at a job he hates but will never have enough, doesn't know what to do except howl for his "cabbage," and so that's how he keeps himself sane. Tommy Hambridge's "I Don't Want to Be in Your Shoes" piles it all on at the end -- you left me, the other guy had more cabbage, you're still not happy, is that my fault? You weren't faithful. That's on you. Lights out. Stylus up.

Album: Raw, Raw, Rough (2010)
Artist: Barrence Whitfield
Label: Blood Red Vinyl & Discs
Songs: (1) Geronimo Stomp (2) I Want Love and Affection Not the House of Correction (3) Wear Your Red Dress (4) I Can't Get No Ride (5) One More Time (6) Strychnine (7) Kissing Tree (8) Early Times (9) Goin' to Jump and Shout (10) Long Green (11) Baby (12) Scratchin' (13) I Don't Want to Be in Your Shoes

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Russ Lewis May 12, 2010 @ 10:41 p.m.

Dang, I was thinking about this guy just yesterday; I had a hankerin' to hear "The Girl From Outer Space." Those guys rock like nobody's business.


Andrew Hamlin May 13, 2010 @ 7:02 p.m.

"The Girl From Outer Space" (live version, from "Live Emulsified") certainly stands alone. But I think you'll dig this set as well.


Russ Lewis May 19, 2010 @ 1:37 p.m.

I took your advice and listened to that live version. Hell yeah that rocks.


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