It’s been a while but, at last, LEE FIELDS’ long-promised album is almost with us. The 12 track ‘Sentimental Fool’ is officially released this Friday, 28th October via Daptone. We say, “it’s been a while” because the set’s first single, the album’s title track was released way back in August. That was followed by two more singles, ‘Forever’ and ‘Two Jobs’. I guess that’s all part of the marketing strategy… building up interest and anticipation.
Whatever, all three of those cuts were (indeed are) fine examples of classic Southern soul with ‘Sentimental Fool’ taking the honours. Opening with a haunting Hammond and a mournful, wailing chorus it has a disturbing, other worldly feel, heightened by Lee’s impassioned vocal. The brassier ‘Forever’ harked back to the great days of Goldwax while the more rhythmic, slightly jauntier ‘Two Jobs’ told the familiar tale of toil and domestic strife – a regular theme in classic Southern soul.
Those three singles set up the album beautifully. So Southern ballad fan will adore the dramatic ‘Just Give Me Your Time’ while ‘What Did I Do’ is another slow smoulderer that invokes the spirit of Otis Redding. Then’s there’s ‘Your Face Before My Eyes’ with a piano opening that reminds you that the legacy of the store front churches of the South was never far from the secular music that’s their congregations also loved. The remaining six tracks… ‘I Should Have Let You Be’, ‘Save Your Tears For Someone New’, ‘Without A Heart’, ‘The Door’, ‘Ordinary Lives’ and ‘Extraordinary Man’ all offer varied, intriguing takes on the Southern soul genre. ‘Without A Heart’, for instance, almost goes into Northern soul territory with its drive and pace (but too “for real” for the Northern crowd, methinks!) while ‘The Door’ is a clever production – almost waltz time!
Producer, Daptone Record’s very own Gabriel Roth (AKA Bosco Mann) ensures that there a consistency across the ten tracks which is underpinned by Lee’s true, world-weary, old school soul voice. He says; “With Gabe’s efforts I feel like this album depicts me as the full character that I am. I’m all about emotions. This album allowed me to show what I’m capable of doing. Not to say that my vocal ability goes beyond others, but I’m able to figure out the math to get the feeling you’re looking for. I’m not trying to outdo any singer, but I can interpret the feeling. I can make someone cry if I want to. It’s always the challenge of trying to make something deeper. On this record I go deeper than I’ve ever gone.” Amen to that! Lee and Gabe go deeper and deeper. Southern soul is alive and well!
LEE FIELDS: Sentimental Fool’ LP released 28th October via Daptone.
In the meantime, check out our 2019 interview with the singer… https://www.soulandjazzandfunk.com/interviews/raining-love-the-lee-fields-interview/