Lee Fields – My World

January 01, 1970

(Truth & Soul)




Leon Michels (the man behind El Michels Affair, who recently
released an album comprising instrumental reworkings of Wu-Tang Clan-related
material) and label-owning/producing partner Jeff Silverman (the pair use the
same moniker, Truth & Soul, for both) have teamed up to oversee the latest
from Lee Fields, My World. And what
is Lee Fields’ world? Forty years ago when he started making records, it was
the world of funk and deep soul, where he earned so many comparisons to James
Brown that he ended up with the nickname “Little J.B.” A decade ago, when he
was rediscovered by the preservationists at the Desco label, he recorded from
the same playbook, and he continued to do so with Desco successors Daptone and
Soul Fire. In between, he spent time in the blues.


Here, his world has changed a bit. It’s still rooted in the
anguish of “Do You Love Me (Like You Say You Do),” the tortured wail of “The
Only One Loving You,” the raw emoting of one of the finest songs in Fields’
repertoire, “Honey Dove” (by my count, this is the third time he’s recorded it,
and judging by this freakishly killer rendering, the third time is the charm).
But Fields and cohorts Silverman and Michels also combine the hard with the
soft, the rough with the smooth, as evidenced by the strings and vibes-laden
slowdown of the title track and by “Ladies,” with strings fluttering around
Fields’ best Teddy Pendergrass impersonation. Add a very cool, sambafied cover
of the Supremes classic “My World Is Empty Without You” and a couple of fine
instrumental interludes from the Expressions (its membership drawn for the most
part from El Michels Affair), and Lee Fields’ world has produced one of the
year’s best releases.


Standout Tracks: “Honey
Dove,” “The Only One Loving You” STUART MUNRO



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