With the release of his first recorded material back in 1969, Lee Fields has had an 45 year recording and touring career in which he’s toured with the likes of Kool and the Gang, O.V. Wright, Hip Huggers, and others. But much like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Ralph “Soul” Jackson, Charles Bradley, Chuck Brown and others, Lee Fields is part of a group of forgotten talents who have finally seen attention for their work, many years after their initial releases.
With the release of My World (2009) and Faithful Man (2012), Fields and his backing band, the Expressions not only grabbed the attention of the blogosphere, he also won a number of new fans. Fields’ latest album, Emma Jean. which was released back in June has the soul star and his backing band pushing their sound in new directions, exploring where contemporary soul and and should go.
The first single off the album was a soul rendition of JJ Cale’s smoldering, bluesy ballad “Magnolia.” And Fields’ rendition manages to cover retains the bluesy shuffle of the original; however, when FIelds sings “you’re the best I ever had,” there’s a profound sense of regret, lovesickness, and loss, and yet throughout the song, a (desperate) hope that the narrator can get back to home to his love.
What makes the latest single “Still Gets Me Down” compelling is the fact that it’s about something that would be familiar with to many of us – the ghosts of our pasts lingering, even after we’ve been long after it. But throughout the song evokes the lump in the throat, quick-paced heartbeat and awkwardness that comes about when you’ve serendipitously encountered your ex around town. In fact, you can hear the ache and hurt in Fields’s voice and the sense of uncertainty about how things ended.