With the release of his first recorded output back in 1969, Lee Fields has had an incredibly prolific 45 year career in which he’s toured with the likes of Kool and the Gang, O.V. Wright, Hip Huggers, and the like. And as i’ve mentioned countless times before soul music has seen a remarkable renaissance with countless bands both across the country and the world playing the sounds of the 60s and 70s. But what’s truly amazing about this soul renaissance is that it’s brought some great and sadly forgotten talents back out into the light – think of Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, the late Chuck Brown and so on.
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. Emma Jean. which will see a June 3 release is the follow-up to Fields’ last two critically acclaimed albums and it reportedly has the soul legend and his backing band pushing their sound in new directions, exploring where contemporary soul can and should go (which is something that few bands would consider).
The first single is a soulful rendition of JJ Cale’s smoldering, bluesy ballad “Magnolia.” Certainly, Fields’ and the Expressions’ 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 and loss, and yet throughout the song, a hope that the narrator can get back to home to his love.