Album Review: Lee Fields & The Expressions - "Special Night"

Album Review: Lee Fields & The Expressions -

By Ian Bremner

Lee Fields seems like the kind of guy who would say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In his case, that would be a marvelous musical motto.

Lee Fields & The Expressions are back with Special Night and it picks up right where Faithful Man and Emma Jean left off. Where some bands try to push the boundaries and take risks, Lee and boys know exactly where their wheelhouse is and simply continue to put out perfect soul tunes. Where Lee Fields differentiates himself from other soul singers is the bravado of the words he’s letting out. He’s got an old-school stage swagger to his delivery, that draws admiration and forces you to root for him even when he’s admitting wrongs and taking responsibility.

Special Night was recorded in Queens by New York masterminds, Leon Michaels and Thomas Brenneck. Lee Fields’ first album dropped in 1969, but some would argue that his best work has come since he teamed up with Michaels and Brenneck. The two men have led and played with the likes of Sharon Jones, The Arcs, Charles Bradley, Budos Band and The Dap-Kings and seem to have their soulful fingers dipped into all of the good soul music coming out of New York over the last decade.

A common theme heard in soul music is the coming together to make the world great. It’s been explored countless times over decades, but for some reason, when Lee sings it in "Make The World," it carries more weight. By most accounts 2016 has been a pretty rough year for a lot of folks; Lee Fields has a tendency to lift spirits and make every night a “Special Night.”