We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.
Album: Faithful Man by Lee Fields (out now on Truth & Soul)
Press play if you like: The early ’70s; mustachioed cop shows; psychedelic soul; Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings; defiant heartbreak; all the songs that influenced Adele
Some background: A veteran of the R&B scene since the ’70s, Lee Fields found new life thanks to the retro-soul movement of the ’00s, and has recorded a handful of albums and singles for the leading old-school funk labels Desco, Daptone, and Soul Fire. Faithful Man is Fields’ most fully realized LP yet: a 10-song plea to a wayward lady from a man who wants her to know how good he could be to her. Musically, Fields and his band The Expressions have grown from the low-budget James Brown imitations of Fields’ earlier records, and now encompass the cinematic drama of Isaac Hayes and the romantic swoop of Marvin Gaye. Faithful Man ranges from a fluttery cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” to the brassy boasting of “I Still Got It,” but what holds all these songs together is Fields’ persistence, as he puts his anguished rasp to good use, arguing for his worthiness. Ladies, you should know: Anyone who’s been around as long as Fields can be counted on to be there for you. He’s just sayin’.
Try this: “You’re The Kind Of Girl” exemplifies all of Faithful Man’s best qualities: Fields’ sweet, conversational entreaties to his absent lover (complete with spoken-word interlude); The Expressions’ lithe arrangements of horn, strings, and funk guitar; and the notion that the world is just one romantic coupling away from being perfect.