With his first recorded efforts being released in 1969, Lee Fields has had an incredibly prolific 45 year career in which he has toured with Kool and the Gang, O.V. Wright, Hip Huggers, and others. But despite the relentless touring, Fields tolled quite a bit in obscurity; however, over the last decade or so, soul music has seen a remarkable resurgence with new and contemporary acts playing the soul sounds of the 60s and 70s. But perhaps more important, is that the soul renaissance has brought some great and sadly forgotten talents back out into the light, including Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, the late Chuck Brown and others.
With the release of My World (2009) and Faithful Man (2012), through Truth and Soul Records, Fields and his backing band, the Expressions not only grabbed the attention of the blogosphere, he also won a number of new fans. His latest effort, Emma Jean has the soul artist and his backing band pushing their sound in new directions, exploring where contemporary soul can and should go (which is something that few actually do, let alone consider).
The latest single is a cover of Leon Russell’s “Out In The Woods” which has a deeply personal experience for Fields – as he mentions in an interview with the folks at Self-Titled Magazine, the song depicts how the soul singer felt when he arrived in NYC as a 17 year old back in 1968. With 20 bucks in his pocket., and not knowing a single soul, the young Fields was fueled by his desire to make something of himself.
The original song was more of Dr. John sort of bluesy shuffle comprised of piano, guitar, bass guitar and jazz-like drumming while suggesting that it takes tough sorts to survive in a dog eat dog world. The Fields’ cover manages to be soulful and triumphant – and it does so without losing the original’s spirit and feel. In some way, it says “yeah I’ve taken an incredible risk but look at what I’ve become because I’m stronger."
The official video, shot in a cinematic black and white at the Fields Family annual barbecue with friends, and associates in the singer’s adopted hometown of Plainfield, NJ. And it shows some very beautiful folks’; in fact, my favorite shot of the video is when a father picks up his young daughter at Fields sings the line ” my pretty little woman of mine.“ It’s adorable.