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Tuesday January 23rd 2018

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LEE FIELDS AND THE EXPRESSIONS – My World

lee fieldsLee Fields and The Expressions – “My World”. Truth and Soul Records, 2009.

“My World” is a kickback to old-school soul, featuring many well-played themes of the genre: lost love (“My World is Empty Without You”, “Love Comes and Goes”), economic disparity (Money I$ King”) and lust for beautiful women (“Ladies”). Still, this album is original and refreshing.

The Expressions  are the brainchildren of Truth and Soul Records. Upon the Williamsburg label’s establishment in 2004, label owners Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels resolved to record a record that would authentically embody the spirit of 1960s soul, using the “near perfect” formula created by bands like The Moments, The Delfonics and The Stylistics: “lush strings and smooth vocals harmonies layered over hard-hitting rhythms”.   And indeed, the Expressions accomplish that goal on this album. Vibraphone mixed with piano; mellophone layered with trumpet, trombone and sax; violin and cello played with bass; and congas struck alongside traditional Western drums together provide this music with incredible richness.

Perhaps the most important feature of this album, though, is Fields’s vocal performance. Fields is a veteran of the ‘60s and ‘70s funk and soul era, and though this album was recorded almost 40 years after the peak of his career, his talents seem to have aged like wine. His voice is deep, powerful, raw and genuine. At times, he screams and grunts – yet he always succeeds in retaining a certain smoothness.

“My World” is a beautiful, rich, emotionally-charged album that is complexly and intelligently composed, yet is not overwhelming or pretentious. It pulls on its the listener’s heartstrings and appeals to his/her basic aesthetic instincts, but also inspires critical thought. For this reason, its appeal is universal; it can be listened to passively as a “mood enhancement” to one’s environment, or with a critical ear. A pure pleasure.

By Evelyn Astor

Lee Fields and the Expressions performing “Honey Dove” in South Paw, Brooklyn (2009)

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