in partnership with Hyde Park Book ClubSkint & Demoralised+ Louise…
Lee Fields & The Expressions
15 Aug 2019 7:30pm
Lee Fields & The Expressions
+ guest support.. TBA
Soul music pours out of Lee Fields, as free and unstinting as God's love. It has ever since the 1960s, when he was a teenager in North Carolina sweating it out on juke joint stages, crumpled dollars hailing at his feet. It continues now that the living legend is in his late sixties, ushering in the most successful and fruitful period of his career.
Like any living legend worth their salt, Fields has suffered despair, obscurity, defeat. Although he now tours stages around the world, and although he helped fellow soul legends like Sharon Jones (who was once Fields' backup singer) and Charles Bradley (whom Fields took on his first tour) get their first break, he did not always have this position. There were years -- they were known as "the 1980s" -- when Fields nearly gave up. His success these days, then has a bittersweet tinge: His dear friends Bradley and Jones have both passed, leaving Fields to outlive them and carry their legacy forth.
With all these years, and all this life, comes a sort of divine wisdom, and Fields has it in spades. "I am a sinner, just like everybody else," he says gravely. He is no "holier-than-thou guy," he adds. He just believes in people's ability to love and be loved, and he understands that music is the divine bridge to these places. "We should be conscious at all times of what is good and what is bad," he tells me. "Once we lose that consciousness, we are deceived, we are tricked." This worldview, equally stern and loving, rocksteady and welcoming, finds its fullest expression yet on It Rains Love, his latest and possibly his most earnest record ever.
It Rains Love is music of endless love, of endless hurt, of reverberating kindness and wisdom, of decades and lifetimes' worth of pain alchemized into kindness. It is the warmth of a hand extended, grasping yours. His lyrics glow with an unearthly purity he has never allowed himself to touch before. He has never been a dictator, a la James Brown, but his longtime band the Expressions gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted. He ended up putting more of himself -- his eloquent, peculiar self -- into his music than he used to dare. As he puts it on the titles of the new album's last two songs, "God Is Real" and "Love Is The Answer." Taken together, they could be everything Fields has been trying to say ever since his recording career began. It is nothing less than his take on the human condition.
The love of God, in whatever form the divine mystery might take, radiates outward from the humid and joyfully relaxed arrangements of The Expressions. For Lee Fields, born Elmer, Jesus is Buddha is the Torah is the Bible is the love we feel for our families. "I am of Christian faith, but I believe God is all in all," he says. "I believe any religion that tells you to do the right thing." The music ranges just as wide, without ever losing its compass in soul: The deep echoes on the drums of on "God Is Real" hint at dub.
Only a true survivor could have made It Rains Love, and Fields is nothing if not that. Fields has been married to the same woman for 50 years. He lives in the same house. He is a man of deep and abiding faiths, and part of his bedrock comes from the moment in the 1980s, when his career seemed over. He had never gotten famous, and the gigs were drying up. It was time, he thought. There would be no more Lee Fields, "I thought I was done," he says of the era when the soul music revolution of the previous decade seemed to beat a hasty retreat under the lacquered assault of new synthesized equipment and stiff, early drum machine programming. "I had almost literally given up. "He made other plans -- he worked in real estate. He planned to open a restaurant. He settled into his role, not as Lee Fields, but as Elmer, the dependable and steadfast family man who underpinned his wild stage performer's alter ego. "My wife stopped me, man, she told me 'stick to what you know.'"
Today, he stands at the forefront of the soul revival, a bustling and ever-growing corner that has nourished the nutrient-starved waters of 21st century pop music with virtues it lacks: a sense of timelessness, of eternity, of a tradition extending backward into generations. Lee Fields music has been chopped up and sampled by hip hop artists as diverse as J. Cole and Travis Scott: Cole, Fields laughs, thought that the sample was taken from a song "from back in the day." It wasn't, in the strictest sense -- Cole sampled "My World Is Empty Without You" and "Ladies," which were both from Fields' album My World, made in 2009 -- in a deeper sense, it was true. Fields' music doesn't belong to Now; it belongs to eternity. He has been testifying, in the purest sense of the word, since Otis Redding was alive. He is living history.
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The Brudenell Social Club welcome deaf and disabled customers to the venue. Venue AccessBrudenell social Club has step free access from the entrance to the viewing platforms of both gig rooms. There is also a newly installed accessible toilet, which is accessed via a RADAR key. Bookable Access Facilities + How to ApplyPersonal Assistant ticketsWe offer a Personal Assistant ticket to any customer who may not be able to attend a show without the support of a PA. if you require a PA ticket, please give us an email or call to discuss your requirements. We will then confirm this ticket via email. You will be asked to provide evidence for the PA ticket to be issued Accessible viewing areaIf you require use of the viewing platforms and/or a seat, please let us know in advance where possible, to ensure we are aware of your access needs Accessible parkingThere is parking available at Brudenell Social Club. We do not have specific accessible parking bays Travel Guide and Arrival GuideTaxis can drop customers off within our car park, right outside our front door. Our nearest train station is Burley Park, which is 850 metres away. Leeds Station is also nearby, at 3080 metres away. Our nearest bus stop is 120 metres away from our front door, and is served by the 56 route to and from Leeds City Centre/train station The Brudenell is open from 12pm, and the gig rooms tend to open from 7:30pm as standard, door time is usually printed on the ticket. If you require early entrance into the venue as part of your access requirements, make yourself known to our door staff before doors (7:20pm), who will be able to help. ToiletsAt the Brudenell we have one accessible toilet, which is situated 30 metres from the main room viewing area and 16 metres from the Community room viewing area. Customers with Medical RequirementsThe Brudenell welcome customers who may need to bring medication, food, drink or medical equipment to manage a medical condition. We may be able to keep medication refrigerated for you, so just let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate. You'll need to contact us in advance should you need to refrigerate and medicine. Assistance DogsWe welcome assistance dogs into the venue and will happily provide a bowl of water if needed. However, not all events are suitable so please contact us before hand. We may be able to offer a location where the dog could stay during the gig, but please get in touch to discuss this further. Strobe LightingWe do not have strobe lighting at the venue, but from time to time bands may bring it with them, in the event this happens, signs will be on display on the evening, please get in touch if you have any concerns. Other Info (e.g. assisted performances)At present we do not offer any assisted performance options, but this is something we are exploring. We do not have any lowered bars at the moment, but our staff are willing to help in any way they can Large Text / Easy To Read GuidesA printable copy of this information can be downloaded in PDF format here. An easy to read menu with our standard drink prices can be viewed here. Attitude is Everything We are working with Attitude is Everything and have been awarded silver on their Grassroots Charter of Best Practice. Attitude is Everything recruit Mystery Shoppers and Volunteers, so do contact them if you are interested. Contacting UsIf you need to contact us with a venue access query please contact: Jilly Chattenjill@brudenellsocialclub.co.uk0113 275 2411 (during office hours only, 10am-6pm) Response time will be a maximum of 5 days, email is best line of contact. Please be aware that if your request is for a PA ticket, please use the email address above, we need at least two weeks in order to process these sorts requests.
- Wheelchair access
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