Lee Fields & the Expressions
SXSW Showcase Reviews
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., March 16, 2012
Lee Fields & the ExpressionsND at 501 Studios, Wednesday, March 15
Giving new album Faithful Man a live run, Lee Fields & the Expressions delivered 45 minutes of pure soul, or as the North Carolina native might say, a moment or two of pure bliss. Like last year's Festival breakout Charles Bradley, Fields isn't a great singer, but he pours every ounce of himself into his songs and chooses just the right moments to unleash the bloodcurdling scream that warrants the nicknames Little J.B. and Soul Brother No. 2. Unlike Bradley, this is anything but a debut for Fields, who began his career with a 1969 cover of James Brown's "Bewildered" and whose Seventies singles have been sought-after funk relics in collector circles. Fields shed his gator skin jacket after one song, saying, "It looks cool, but it's hot as hell in here." Things heated up further when the sixpiece Expressions, a crack Brooklyn band led by Truth & Soul Records co-founder Leon Michels, launched into sexy summertime anthem "Ladies" from 2009's My World. The aptly named "I Still Got It" and the title track teased the new album before the band closed with "Honey Dove," a song as close to perfection as an R&B tune can get in the 21st century.