In this age of disposable music and equally ephemeral careers, longevity of any kind should be celebrated. And Lee Fields should be the grand marshal of that parade.
A Soul shouter with the passion and intensity of James Brown, Fields made his debut in 1969, served as a utility Kool & the Gang member in the early ’70s and churned out a string of great singles, culminating in his 1979 debut full-length masterpiece, Let’s Talk It Over, most of which Fields self-released and self-promoted.
Unfortunately, Fields’ brilliant blast of old-school ’60s R&B/Funk was deemed out of step with the prevailing Disco winds (although the cover shot of Fields in a suit that looks like it was fashioned from the upholstery of a whorehouse couch indicates otherwise) and it sank without so much as a ripple in its wake.
Fields never really stopped doing his raucous and raw Soul act but he was well under the radar, except to Rap/Hip Hop spinners who sampled Fields’ massive grooves to great effect. Eventually Truth & Soul Records rediscovered Fields, signed him and released his first new album in a couple of decades, 2009’s My World, marking a triumphant entry in the recent Soul revival. The label also reissued his long out-of-print Problems in 2010. Fields’ current tour supports another pair of ace releases, the recently reissued-and-expanded version of Fields’ fabulous Let’s Talk It Over and his first album of all new material in four years, the Soul-and-sweat-drenched Faithful Man.
Want to travel back to the halcyon days of ’60s Soul/Funk/R&B? We don’t need no stinking time machine; we’ve got Lee Fields.
LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS play Saturday, March 30 with Lady at 20th Century Theater in Oakley. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.