Lee Fields & the Expressions – My World

Lee Fields & the Expressions - My World

Lee Fields & the Expressions - My World

Wrapped in a heavy coating of James Brown funk and soul, Lee Fields has earned his title as “Little JB.” But without being a direct impersonation of the late singer, Fields has steadily grown as both a vocalist and songwriter. Remembered by many for his famed gold singles-released on 7″- and one LP, this new album with The Expressions, My World is a marvelous release.

There’s nothing to hide on here, this is a bona fide soul album of the best kind. Substantially emotional and enormously majestic, Fields and his Expressions are hitting on all cylinders. “Tell Me It’s Not True” is one of the many songs that finds Fields reaching for his inner blues man. While the music is everything bumping, lively and ecstatic, his lyrics about love lost and trying to regain it are sung in a captivating pull. With every breath and ensuing word, Fields never misses a pitch while always maintaining that compelling enunciation and delivery.

As the poster boy for small label, Truth & Soul Records, Fields has felt the burden of much-needed success on his shoulders for quite some time. But what makes My World such a fantastic listen is not so much the singer’s undeniable talent but, more so, his fervent passion injected into each and every note sung. With a backing band that recalls the Dap-Kings, along with some much-desired strings and tightly-wound percussion, Fields is in the spotlight, for all to marvel.

There’s enough exceptional choices made on My World that it would be hard to name them all, but one strikingly obvious selection is the use of instruments and melody as a driving force. “Last Ride”‘s propelling guitar, jazzy horn line and moving mallet lines are stacked on top of each other in a masterful manner and “Expressions Theme” is a laid-back tune with swelling winds and effervescent guitar chords. The latter’s lazy trumpet playing switches from in your face rips to dulcet low notes.

Getting back to business, Fields sings about daily life experiences and struggles that can hit a strong chord with anyone. Behind the rough exterior of a funky bass line and some of the catchiest music of year, Fields sings “It’s a sad, sad, sad world when money is king” on the appropriately titled “Money I$ King.” And on the unapologetically honest and open “The Only One Loving You,” Fields connects to all heart-broken men when he sings “Don’t leave me, cuz girl without you, it’s all over.” The music’s pushing middle section, with thumping drums and horns, lead into a fury of strings as Fields optimistically sings “I’ll be all right, let’s make sweet love tonight, like we used to do.”

Forever entrancing and mesmerizing, My World ends up being one of the many highlights 2009 has delivered. Fields voice sounds ageless and with the resilient backing of the Expressions, he’s able to absolutely get lost in his passion, love and, well, expression. It’s something that shouldn’t be ignored and although the genre has felt dry with albums as strong as this, Lee Fields & the Expressions’ music is incredibly remarkable.

Truth & Soul Records