A cold-hearted cynic might say Lee Fields’ music is just a calculated attempt to capture the sound and style of soul music from 1966-1974 in amber and repackage it for a new generation. However, put Faithful Man on your stereo and any feelings of cynicism melt away like an ice cream in the summer heat. Yes, Faithful Man sounds like an artifact from a bygone era, but sweat, soul, and emotion are timeless, and if we can’t admire those qualities anymore, we’re in a world of trouble. Besides, Fields has been recording this kind of music since the ’70s, so if anyone’s entitled to play it the way it used to sound, it’s him.
The opening title track draws you in immediately, with Fields pleading through a tale of a woman who brought him to the dark side and shook his faith. His performance is raw and exhilarating, but with horns, velvety-smooth strings, and female backing vocals all adding an air of elegance to the grit. Elsewhere, he shines on his odes to resiliency in the face of adversity, “I Still Got It” and “Still Hanging On,” and gives his band, The Expressions, a moment in the spotlight on the low-key instrumental “Intermission.” He also does a stunning cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” that pastes the song’s world-weary tone onto an Al Green-style slow-burning R&B groove that glides effortlessly towards perfection.
If you’re tired of meaningless pop gloss, check this out. It’s the real deal. To use his own words, Lee’s ‘still got it’.
Bonus tip: To hear his cover of “Moonlight Mile” in a different context, pick up the January 2012 issue of Mojo Magazine, where it features on a CD of modern-day soul artists doing a track-by-track cover of Sticky Fingers…the disc comes free with the magazine.
01. Faithful Man
02. I Still Got It
03. You’re The Kind Of Girl
04. I’m Still Hanging On
06. Wish You Were Here
07. Who Do You Love
08. Moonlight Mile
09. It’s All Over But The Crying
10. Walk On Through That Door