Over the course of his incredibly prolific 45 year career, Lee Fields has toured with the likes of Kool and the Gang, O.V. Wright, Hip Huggers, and the like. And yet sadly, for quite some time Fields, much like his contemporaries Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, the late (and great) Chuck Brown and others had tolled about in relative obscurity; however, with the recent soul renaissance that has seen a countless number of musicians across the globe turning to the glorious sounds of the 60s and 70s, it’s brought many long forgotten and seemingly obscure artists out to receive the adulation that they deserved a long time ago.
When Brooklyn-based label Truth and Soul Records released Fields’ two previous albums with his backing band the Expressions, My World (2009) and Faithful Man (2012), Fields not only gained the attention of a hungry blogosphere looking for new sounds to champion, he won over quite a few new fans. Fields’ newest album, Emma Jean, which includes a smoldering and soulful cover of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia,” reportedly reportedly has the soul singer and his backing band pushing their sound in new directions, exploring where contemporary soul can and should go.
“Just Can’t Win” is the latest single (and video) from Emma Jean and quite naturally, the song sounds as though it could have been recorded in 1966 thanks to the keyboard line and the atmospheric backing vocals. But lytically, the song is deeply inspirational – yes, it says that life can be tough and disappointing to the point that we often don’t know if we’ll get a break; but we keep on trying with the hope that maybe this time it’ll be different.
Metaphorically, the official video follows the plight of a boxer, who trains, gets beaten up and goes back to it, and eventually she does win.