Lee Fields is the reluctant beneficiary of a devastating tragedy. The cancer-related death of soul artist Sharon Jones last year made Fields the most vital surviving traditional R&B performer.
Although Fields has yet to attain Jones’ renown, his music is no less compelling. After toiling for years as a de facto James Brown tribute artist, Fields was rediscovered by a new generation of admirers about 15 years ago. The New York-based artist has since recorded a series of sterling albums that contain excellent updates of his impeccably soulful 1970s singles “Funky Screw” and “Everybody Gonna Give Their Thing Away to Somebody (Sometime).”
“Special Night,” the 2016 album by Fields and his elite band the Expressions, is every bit as potent as the efforts of Jones and Charles Bradley, perhaps the only other veteran artist who rivals the authoritative soul power of Fields.
Given exceptionally nifty support from the immaculately dressed men in the Expressions, Fields’ riveting performance at the Granada last year confirmed that his wondrous voice remains infused with desperation while his flashy dance moves continue to elicit roars of approval.
Soul is a timeless music that will always attract enormously talented artists. Even so, Fields’ performances represent one of the last opportunities to witness a first-generation soul man deliver the goods.
Hi-Lux, a Kansas City band fronted by dynamic vocalist Julia Hale, opens the show.
Tickets to the Friday concert at RecordBar are $17 in advance at therecordbar.com.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink