Album Reviews

Lee Fields and the Expressions

Special Night

Artist:     Lee Fields and the Expressions

Album:     Special Night

Label:     Big Crown

Release Date:     11/04/2016


Born in North Carolina in 1951, Lee Fields has been singing soul since the late 1960s. He has sometimes been called “Little JB” for his resemblance to James Brown, but make no mistake, Lee Fields has a style all his own. During his career, he has toured with Kool and the Gang, Hip Huggers, O.V. Wright, Darrell Banks and Little Royal. Today he is backed by his band the Expressions, who lay down tight grooves which give Mr. Fields a rock solid base from which to shine.

His latest release, Special Night, shows him in fine form performing a range of Soul rooted in the classic sounds of the Atlantic, Stax, Philadelphia International, Chess, Fame and Motown labels. About the songs, Mr. Fields says, “This is a record about what people do in real life.” He can croon or belt with the best of his predecessors, and delivers with a conviction so palpable you know he means it.

Of the first track, “Special Night,” Mr. Fields says, “I’m talking to my lady, literally, expressing the way I feel. You can tell if a song is real or not. And every moment I’m recording, those moments are real.”

The third track, “Work To Do,” tells a tale of “a guy going to counseling, drinking too much, apologizing to the old lady and trying to keep family together, doing the manly thing.”

With brassy horns and a wicked funk groove that brings to mind vintage James Brown, “Make This World” speaks to environmental concerns, and is the standout track. “The World was designed to last indefinitely,” says Fields. “And we’re the only living species on Earth who can alter that process. I’m hoping that song has a chain reaction, helps somebody put into action whatever contribution they can to change what the world is going through.”

With ten tracks produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck at Diamond Mine in Queens, NY, Lee Fields and the Expressions offer up a platter of powerful soul that is at once vintage and contemporary. Mr.Fields and the band will be performing Saturday, January 7th at Irving Plaza in New York City. Be there!

-Mike Cobb

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