LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS
Truth & Soul (TS026CD)
Just Can’t Win, Magnolia, Paralyzed, Standing By Your Side, Eye To Eye, In The Woods, All I Need, It Still Gets Me Down, Talk To Somebody, Stone Angel, Don’t Leave Me This Way
Now this is definitely something to celebrate, a thrilling new southern soul album just like they used to make in the ‘good old days’ of Stax and Atlantic.
Lee Childs started his musical career as a teenager in the 1960s becoming something of a James Brown-styled soul-funk artist. Over recent years, his attention has turned back to his first love, southern soul, and with this sensational new album he seems to have finally found his true voice.
Backed by, and encouraged onwards, by The Expressions, a much younger collection of musicians, he seems to positively revel in what he has been presented with here: a selection of classy arrangements and well-chosen songs. These include a laid-back version of J.J. Cale’s Magnolia and a funky interpretation of Leon Russell’s In The Woods.
My favourite, if pushed, however would have to be the truly majestic It Still Gets Me Down, full of Fields emoting repeatedly in front of a punchy horn arrangement and sympathetic female backing singers. Everything you want and hope for in a southern soul classic, in fact. On Stone Angel, he brings out the more reflective and melodic side of soul, a little like Bobby Womack did so well during The Poet period. And, the closer Don’t Leave Me This Way just exudes class. The James Brown influences still surface here and there but this is a positive, adding a little funk edge now and again to keep to everything sharp and punchy.
In fact all 11 tracks are tremendous in their own right but taken together they form a cohesive and fully satisfying album. You are going to hear a lot from Lee Fields from here on in, as it seems as though he is being lined up by some as a 63 year old overnight sensation. Get this now, it really is as good as you are going to be told it is!
Review Date: June 2014