Lee Fields & The Expressions – My World (2009)

Lee Fields & The Expressions - My World (2009)
Artist: Lee Fields & The Expressions
Album: My World
Genre: Soul
Origin: USA
Released: 2009
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Do You Love Me (Like You Say You Do) (3:25)
Love Comes And Goes (3:11)
Honey Dove (4:07)
Money I$ King (3:19)
My World Is Empty Without You (4:01)
Expressions Theme (2:51)
My World (3:27)
Ladies (4:17)
These Moments (3:08)
The Only One Loving You (4:10)
Last Ride (3:40)

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Lee Fields is the real deal. The revival of old-school funk and soul sounds that began with Desco Records in New York and bands like Germany’s Poets of Rhythm in the 1990s has produced a lot of fantastic throwback music, some of which stands right alongside the real thing from the late 60s and early 70s. Sharon Jones may be the queen of American revivalist soul, but what’s easy to forget is that Jones was discovered by Phillip Lehman and Gabriel Roth singing backup for Fields on a session in the mid-90s. Fields cut his first 45 in 1969, a series of follow-ups on tiny labels in the 70s, then recorded an album in 1979 before disappearing for most of the 80s. He recorded a few albums for Ace in the 90s before landing at Desco and its offspring, Daptone and Soul Fire.

Now he’s with Truth & Soul, and that crew, led by Leon (aka El) Michels, has helped him create one smoking mother of an old-sound soul record. There’s a subtle hint of hip-hop in this brand of deep soul, but for the most part, it sounds like something that easily could have come out of some imaginary mid-point between Stax, Muscle Shoals, and Philadelphia International in about 1971. A few of the Southern-style ballads on My World are simply stunning, especially “Honey Dove”. This is at least the third time he’s recorded the song, and this version is a total bomb– Fields sweats through every second as the guitar channels Steve Cropper, horns and a small string section drift through the languid rhythm, and Homer Steinweiss lays down a perfectly understated and sharp drum part.

Steinweiss and the rest of the Expressions clearly feel this music and don’t sound like mere imitators. They serve up an inventive arrangement on the moralistic funk track “Money I$ King”, which is essentially through-composed– the horns constantly shift, working up to a dissonant finale. The haunting backing vocals, bells, and shivering strings that color the cover of the Supremes’ “My World Is Empty Without You” show a lot of imagination and a willingness to interpret a stone classic rather than simply parroting it. “Love Comes and Goes”, with its big harmony vocal on the chorus, also takes the form out of its box a little.

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