Most of the albums I’ve been listening to lately are subtle, layered and complicated – they require patience and time to fully understand and eventually love. Faithful Man, is not one of these albums. The first time I heard it I could feel a smile creep across my face and the instant relief of loving something without all the hard work. Just when you think classic soul music is dead, an album comes along and surprises you. Lee Fields has been in the music industry since the 60′s but his newest album Faithful Man has been making people sit up and take notice.
A man that got his start singing in small NYC clubs, it didn’t take long before his soulful voice and James Brown-esque moves were noticed and his career was well on it’s way. Although he began with a funk sound playing with bands like Kool and the Gang, his current album is more soulful Motown. Song’s like “Wish You Were Here” are belted out with all the pain and suffering of Otis Redding’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” Not only is this a great soul album with all the bells and whistles of a full band, stellar back up singers and a charismatic front man, but it’s stacked with great tunes. If you aren’t hooked after the first three songs then you might not be paying attention. The title track is a gritty and painful employing all the instruments Fields has at his disposal, “I Still Got It,” makes you want to whole heartedly agree and “You’re The Kind of Girl” is so damn catchy it would have easily been a chart topper back in the 60′s. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a place for this kind of music on today’s radio, but if you’ve turned on the radio lately (at least in my area) they aren’t exactly setting the standard. Rolling Stones cover “Moonlight Mile,” has all the echoes of 70′s rock, but when given the Fields’ treatment becomes smooth, aching and slightly groovy. There are no gimmicks here – no samples, no rappers, and no hooks sung by modern artists trying to force the album to be hip enough to appeal to young audiences. Just straight forward soul music as it should be written and the result is extremely genuine and heartfelt. Faithful Man proves what I’ve always thought, which is that it can be any genre of music from doo-wop to punk, but if it’s good then it transcends time. Good music should be as good tomorrow as it was today, and this right here is good music. Nice work Mr. Fields.
Watch Lee and the band crush it below.
Also the official music video for “You’re The Kind of Girl.”