sexta-feira, 11 de março de 2016
Lee Fields & The Expressions (R&B, Funk'n'Soul)
Elmer "Lee" Fields is an American soul artist born in 1951 in North Carolina, sometimes nicknamed "Little JB" for his physical and vocal resemblance with James Brown. During his prolific 43-year career he has toured with such figures of soul and R&B as Kool and the Gang, Hip Huggers, O.V. Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. He recorded his first single in 1969 and is still active today. More recently, he made recordings with The Expressions, including the album Faithful Man (2012). In 2006, he recorded the song "Jealousy" with Martin Solveig, and in 2008, the pair recorded "I Want You". In 2014, Fields provided additional vocals for the James Brown biographical movie, Get On Up.
Lee Fields spent most of the '90s on the Ace label, recording soul-blues albums whose funkiness was often dampened by cheap-sounding, partly synthesized backing tracks. Judging by his performance on his Desco Records debut full-length Let's Get a Groove On, Fields' move to the pioneering old-school funk-revival label freed him to do the kind of gritty, authentic funk album he'd been itching to record for quite some time. Laying out his principle of "rough...nasty...genuine" funk in a spoken intro, Fields positively smokes through the whole record, capturing all the fire of late-'60s James Brown (whom he strongly and unashamedly resembles, vocally) with the help of the Desco house band, the Soul Providers, who lay down a richly organic set of guitar-and-organ-dominated funk backings. Let's Get a Groove On is blatantly derivative of its influences, but the simple act of returning wholeheartedly to those influences -- in a musical climate which has assimilated and moved away from them -- could in itself be considered an innovation. Regardless, it's a stunning performance from Fields and the record that fulfills Desco's promise -- quite possibly one of 1999's best, and definitely one of its most overlooked.