Courtesy of the artist
Lee Fields and his band the Expressions gave a concert at Joe's Pub in NYC on July 21st.
Lee Fields is a bona fide soul singer. Brought up in North Carolina, he was so enamored of fellow southerner James Brown that he once earned the nickname "Little J.B." Though he's since developed his own style, his fidelity to the intensity and grit of the Godfather of Soul has made him one of the biggest draws in the circuit of Southern R&B and soul music. He's been performing and recording since the '70s, before "retro-soul" was even possible. And he's been amazingly prolific, releasing 15 full-length records on different labels. His latest, My World, came out in June.
What you get with decades of experience is craft. Fields wields his instrument with dexterity; his voice is limber, but lived-in. And he doesn't spend a lot of time listening to himself: He packs as much emotion into a note as he can and then keeps moving. The feel will be familiar to anyone having made the acquaintance of Otis Redding or James Brown — that marriage of rough and sweet.
And his band is tight. The members of The Expressions have been playing together, in various arrangements, for years. Culled from the El Michels Affair, The Dap-Kings and Bronx River Parkway, they've previously backed Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse and Sammy Ayala.