Lee Fields & The Expressions

Lee Fields & The Expressions

The Sugarman 3, The Shacks

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20.00

This event is 21 and over

Tickets for 12/15: Click Here!

Lee Fields & The Expressions
Lee Fields & The Expressions
"I feel that every human being's purpose is to do what their inner voice says to do," says Lee Fields. "And my inner voice, my driving force, wants me to put out music and keeping making better records."

Apologies to the late, great James Brown, but you'd be hard pressed to find another singer who's ever worked as hard as Fields, a man who's been making soul and funk anthems since 1969.

Since that time, Fields has toured the world with musical legends like Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. Recorded with French house DJ/producer Martin Solveig. And somehow found a newer, younger audience and become more prolific as the years transpire.

"In a curious case of musical evolution, the older Fields becomes, the closer he gets to perfecting the sound of soul that he grew up with as a young man," noted NPR music writer Oliver Wang (and that was back in 2009).. Now Fields returns with his most triumphant and honest record yet, Special Night, recorded with The Expressions and released on Brooklyn's Big Crown Records.

Special Night follows the the critical success of his Truth & Soul recordings My World, Faithful Man and 2014's Emma Jean -- the last one American Songwriter hailing as "more than just a stroll down memory lane ... it's the sound of a man who understands his musical strengths and plays to them with class, authority and soul searching intensity."

You'll hear Fields flexing those strengths on Special Night. There's some JB-style funk on there. And hints of Stax, Chess, Fame and Motown.

But this is not a throwback. Possessing a voice that's equally raucous and tender, Fields crafts a truly honest, soulful work. "This is a record about what people do in real life," says the singer. For one example, he cites the yearning "Work to Do," which entails a "a guy going to counseling, drinking too much, apologizing to the old lady and trying to keep family together, doing the manly thing."

Adds Fields: "When I record, I make every song like I actually mean it. I mean every word I say. On Special Night I'm talking to my lady -- literally, expressing the way I feel. You can tell if a song is real or not. And every moment I'm recording, those moments are real."

Meanwhile, album standout "Make This World" works both as militaristic funk and a cautionary tale about the health of the planet. "The world was designed to last indefinitely," says Fields.

"And we're the only living species on Earth who can alter that process. I'm hoping that song has a chain reaction, helps somebody put into action whatever contribution they can to change what the world is going through."

Fields and his six-piece band will tour in the fall, where he notes the audiences seem tgrowing and changing. "I'm seeing a younger crowd," he notes. "And that's a blessing."

As for his late success? Fields regrets nothing. "I was already talking to myself in the beginning of my career about the end of my career," he says. "I was a little naive, so I told myself, 'Think about the future in every song you make. Make things you can live with. Everything you do has consequences.' And today, I live like I've always lived."

A credo that continues with Special Night. "All the songs on that record have special meaning," he says. "I hope people take a good listen to it and find the magic."
The Sugarman 3
For soul aficionados, The Sugarman 3 have long held a coveted place among the greats of instrumental soul music. Their story begins back in the balmy summer of 1996 when a young Gabriel Roth and his then label partner Phillip Lehman were passed a cassette tape of the local boogaloo soul jazz outfit led by saxophonist Neal Sugarman.  Originally only a trio (hence the often questioned name), Sugarman was accompanied by long time Jack McDuff drummer, Rudy Albin, and local Hammond organ phenom Adam Scone. Soulful organ jazz was enjoying some resurgence in those days, driven by the blossoming “Acid Jazz” scene and the emergence of several Blue Note reissues, and there were other bands around dipping their toes into the “boogaloo” waters. However, The Sugarman 3 quickly defined its sound as a break from the academics of typical soul-jazz by focusing on the soulful funk element of organ music, while avoiding the affectations and clichés, which too often alienate jazz musicians from the dance floor crowd.  Roth and Lehman were immediately struck by the rawness of the trio’s sound and signed them to their upstart company Desco Records, which had already begun carving its own reputation as the home of the toughest funk records.

Soon after the signing to Desco Records, the band went into the studio to record and release in 1998 their first full length LP, the aptly titled, Sugar’s Boogaloo. With its pounding breaks, screaming organ, and deft guitar twangs courtesy of the late great Coleman Mellet, the record became a SMASH hit in the burgeoning UK Funk scene.  Their classic sound and immaculate execution gave even the most diehard soul connoisseur a run for their money when trying to determine whether or not the band was new, or from decades past.  Heavy touring followed the release, which secured The Sugarman 3’s position as the hardest hitting instrumental soul group on the scene. 

Sugarman’s second full-length effort, Soul Donkey (1999), illustrated the beginning of their move towards more traditional funk, stripping down arrangements and relying less on solos and more on the strength of Scone’s percolating basslines.  Sugarman’s version of Lou Donaldson’s “Turtle Walk” from this LP was one of Desco Records’ best received 45s, which ultimately led to Soul Donkey becoming the best selling Desco album. Sadly, Desco records shut it’s doors for good in 2000.
In 2001, The Sugarman 3 toured extensively throughout the US and Europe. Upon the bands return to Brooklyn in October of that year, Sugarman had the opportunity to reunite with his old pal Gabriel Roth. With a shared love for top notch classic funk and soul and a desire to share that love with the world, the two formed what was to become the platform for the next chapter of The Sugarman 3 story, as well as one of the finest Soul imprints to ever occupy this planet – Daptone Records.

With their new label firmly in place the group bid their final adieu to the old boogaloo sound and returned to the studio to record what would be their roughest and funkiest album yet, Pure Cane Sugar. Expanding on their signature sound, The Sugarman 3 & Co. employed the talents of trumpet player Todd Simon, conga player Ernesto Abreu, and guitarist Al Street. Guest vocals include funk scene favorites and future Daptone stars, Lee Fields (whom the band went out on tour with in support of this record), Naomi Shelton, and Charles Bradley. Bradley’s scorching performance on “Take It As It Comes” would be his RECORDING DEBUT and the beginning of a long relationship with the organization. Drum legend Bernard Purdy even made a cameo, performing on one of his original tunes, “Modern Jive”.  Pure Cane Sugar was a classic even before it hit the shelves of the local record shops.

With the addition of Street, Guy, and Fields, the 3 toured heavily behind the release of Pure Cane Sugar. However, the next few years found the band touring far less. Sugarman, now a full time member of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, was on the road most of the year in one of the hottest horn sections in the biz and when he wasn’t on the road, he was running Daptone Records. Consequently as both the company and The Dap-Kings grew more successful, booking The Sugarman 3 tours became all but impossible. Fortunately The Sugarman 3’s brand of heavy funk and Sugarman’s greasy sax stylings remained in high demand in the music community at large. This kept session work for the musicians plentiful. You can hear Sugarman’s sax work on albums by Al Green, Mark Ronson, Eric Clapton, Steve Cropper, The New Pornographers, as well as Amy Winehouse’s grammy winning, album of the year for 2007, Back To Black.

By the summer of 2011 Sugarman began tossing around the idea of releasing a new Sugarman 3 record.  It had been almost 10 years since the boys had been in the studio, but after several conversations with Adam and Rudy, an older and wiser Sugarman 3 scheduled 5 days in the studio.    Dave Guy and Fernando Velez were brought back in for the session, and with the addition of Joe Crispiano on guitar, and Bosco “Bass” Mann on Bass, all members of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, tracking began in late August.  With no songs written and only a few loose ideas, the boys started the record from scratch. As Sugarman puts it “let’s have fun and see what happens” was the shared vibe of the session.  To the delight of the band, and the Daptone family at large, what made it onto tape is the most exciting material the band has ever recorded. The result is What the World Needs Now and will be released on Daptone Records on May 15th, 2012.
The Shacks
The Shacks
Fronted by 20-year-old singer/bassist Shannon Wise and 21-year-old guitarist/producer Max Shrager, The Shacks are already well on their way to becoming one of the year’s big breakouts, and their remarkable debut album, ‘Haze,’ solidifies their status as a band with ability to deliver on the well-deserved buzz.

When Max and Shannon met in high school, a bond was created that has permeated their music since the Shacks first incarnation four years ago. That chemistry lies at the heart of ‘Haze,’ a record so hypnotic and seductive that it feels more like a whispered late-night secret than a young band’s debut. Produced together by Shrager and Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels (who’s played with Bradley, Sharon Jones, and Fields in addition to working with The Arcs, Lana Del Rey, and countless others), the album was recorded in bits and pieces between Shrager’s basement and Michels’ Diamond Mine studio, which the Observer dubbed “the Shangri La of Soul.”

‘Haze’ opens with the title track, which is, appropriately enough, the first song Shrager and Wise ever wrote together. It’s a spare, smoky tune that shimmers and sparkles as it shifts in and out of focus, and it’s an ideal gateway into the immersive world of The Shacks. On the breezy “Follow Me,” they channel the infectious charm of a 60’s girl group, while the soulful “My Name Is” grooves its way through a mesmerizing take on 70’s funk. Much like a dream, the songs often merge the familiar and the unfamiliar, constructing their own psychedelic reality full of beauty and yearning, all fueled by Wise’s breathy vocals and the unmistakable electricity of a wildly creative band truly inhabiting their music. “Birds” makes brilliant use of Daptone drum hero Homer Steinwess’s impeccable feel behind the kit, while the 50’s ballad-meets-baroque pop of “Cryin’” tips its cap to Roy Orbison and John Lennon as Shrager takes over lead vocals, and the soulful shuffle of “Texas” belies a dark and violent undercurrent ripped from the headlines. Through it all permeates an unshakable sense that this is a group performing just for you. “Nobody” finds the Shacks re-interpreting Phil Spector’s Wagnerian approach to rock & roll, complete with sweeping strings and darkly innocent lyrics. The 13 songs featured on Haze plays out like the soundtrack to some long lost 16mm film, beckoning you into their grainy, saturated world of analog beauty.

In the short time that they’ve been together, The Shacks have already made an impressive mark. Their hypnotic cover of Ray Davies’ “This Strange Effect” soundtracked a global iPhone commercial, one which actually stars Wise herself, and their self-titled EP earned the band dates with St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Chicano Batman, and their Big Crown Records labelmates Lee Fields & The Expressions.
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.brooklynbowl.com/

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