Faithful Man by Lee Fields (Album)

24 May, 2012 in Music Reviews

Lee Fields

Sounds like a modern record that could also have been made in the 1970s. And this is a good thing.

Lee Fields 'Faithful Man' cover

It’s a funny thing, soul music. Any soul record made in the last few decades is automatically treated with suspicion, often only accepted into the fold if it sounds like it could have been made ‘back in the day’.

Well, hold onto your hats, because Faithful Man sounds like a modern record that could also have been made in the 1970s. And this is a good thing. As any soul-obsessive knows, Lee Fields has been around since the old days – he was affectionately known as Little JB when he first appeared as the brightness of the ’60s turned darker in the ’70s.

While never a big name outside of a select group of fans, Fields has remained true to the music he always loved. Backed by the exceptional talents of The Expressions, Faithful Man channels Curtis Mayfield or Donny Hathaway’s slick, emotive arrangements, polishes them with the sheen of Isaac Hayes and punctuates them with horns worthy of Muscle Shoals.

It’s All Over But The Crying could have been a smash for Al Green, while the fuzz and backing girls on Walk On Though That Door bring Hot Buttered Soul to mind. But it’s not all old references and a trip down memory lane. This is a fresh record, new and exciting in equal measure to its nods to the past. You’re The Kind Of Girl is the kind of timeless hit that brings out the Sun in the darkest hour.

His voice may show some signs of aging, but Fields more than compensates with that most vital ingredient of soul music, whatever the era: soul.

Out now on Truth & Soul.

Paul McGuinness