Thursday 9 May 2019

'It Rains Love' by Lee Fields

Following the release of 'Emma Jean' in 2014, for a review for this very site, I declared the then 62 year old Lee Fields as probably the best there is in contemporary soul music.  'Special Night' was subsequently released in 2016 and this year we have the fifth album by Lee Fields & The Expressions, 'It Rains Love', which have done nothing to alter my earlier stance.

It would be curious to know how the tag of the quintessential soul artist must fit for Fields at this point considering how hard he admittedly tried earlier in his career to emulate the unabashed funk-ness of the legendary James Brown whose distinctive sound proved a source of immeasurable inspiration before Fields was able to find his own niche as soul music's shining light.  Backed by the Big Crown/Truth & Soul/Daptone super-group mash-up of incredible musicians including Thomas Brenneck (guitar), Homer Steinweiss (drums), Dave Guy (trumpet) and produced by Leon Michels, Lee Fields once again excels, delivering a powerhouse selection of tracks.

Over the last few years, recent events in the US have really inspired artists to use their music as a platform to make some stunning music (and statements!) as a result - Durand Jones & The Indications achieved this with their call to arms theme of 'American Love Call', Northern soul inspired vocal duo Mel & Kim from Dala Records released their protest anthem 'Bad Man' in 2018, as have other artists.  'It Rains Love' seems very much to follow in this same vein with Fields using his music to inspire love as the healing factor, as evident in the album title alone and with songs like 'God is Real' and 'Love is the Answer'.

And it's worth mentioning what an incredible run Big Crown Records are currently on as well, between this release from Lee Fields & The Expressions, Bobby Oroza's 'This Love' and last year's 'Predictions' from 79.5, the Brooklyn-based label continues to grow from strength to strength and it's a pleasure to continue to immerse yourself within each release.

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