Lee Fields & The Expressions
There are talents that seem to flare up from nowhere, blaze bright, and burn out in an instant. There are those that glow steadily and reliably. And then there's Lee Fields. Having begun with a few sparks in the late ‘60s, this incendiary singer has slowly grown through four and a half decades into a four-alarm inferno making some of the hottest soul music today.
A solid line of singles and albums stretching all the way back to the ‘70s never quite caught tinder; producers often wanted Fields to be the next Otis Redding or the next James Brown. But as the soul revival of the new millennium gathered steam, tastes veered away from technology-driven trends and back to honest, heartfelt arrangements. “I'm a true soul singer,” he says, “probably one of the few that's left.” And he is, too — his range includes ballads and funk rave-ups, but he seems to burn brightest on the mid-tempo gut-wrenchers that are the heart of classic soul.
With The Expressions, Fields has finally found the backing band that has allowed him to find the fire in his own voice. This group of young Brooklynites punctuates his heartfelt pleas with slinky guitar lines; by laying down soulful grooves, the bass and drums seem to prop him up when he's down over a woman; a horn section laments along with him as he sings of the woes of the world. Their collaboration, the most dynamic combo in contemporary funk-soul, stokes the roaring furnace of an unstoppable soul train.