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


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
The Shacks — equal parts Max Shrager and Shannon Wise singing in her soft whispered voice — sound like they’re playing alone with nobody watching. This dreamy, voyeuristic sound was born in a Queens, NY studio in 2014. And while they describe themselves as a rock band, don’t expect the conventional kind.
The story goes that Max brought Shannon to the studio. Max was playing guitar on a track produced by Leon Michels — the producer and co-founder of Big Crown Records — and Michels needed a vocalist. They put Shannon in the booth to try it out. It was her first time ever recording. Then, in one take, the song “Strange Boy” had a singer who completed the vibe. The Shacks were born.
There are elements of doo-wop and early, pre-Elvis rock in their musicianship. Combine that with a deeply personal songwriting approach and it’s a familiar-yet-fresh sound. Like The Five Keys met Neil Young and cut a record with Brigitte Bardot — but in English.
Here’s the thing: Max and Shannon are barely in their twenties. Most of their musical influences are from before they were born. It’s contradictions like this that signify something intriguing is happening with The Shacks.
Max and Shannon met while going to the same NYC high school. By that time, Max was already a musical wunderkind.
Raised in Princeton, NJ, at fourteen Max emailed Gabe Roth of Daptone Records with a rough, home-recorded demo. By seventeen, he had penned the lead single, “Sinner,” on Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens’ 2014 Cold World LP.
Shannon comes from a strong musical pedigree. Her father, a producer, ran a Manhattan recording studio, and her mother is a singer-songwriter. Artists and bands of all stripes passed through her life growing up. While her history isn’t yet as extensive as Max’s, she’s writing it right now. Her infectious, eclectic voice and songwriting skills are testaments to her remarkable natural talent.
Their first record together, entitled Haze and forthcoming on Big Crown Records, is jointly produced by Shrager and Michels. Each song sounds both like an exploration and reflection of the relationship between Shannon and Max. You can hear a kind of invigorating creativity between them — songs written for and about each other, trying to express the inexpressible aspects of youth and love.
“We just want people to get excited about real music again,” says Max. “When we record we try to capture what’s happening — in our lives, things between us, something in the studio that day, just something honest. Not something pieced together and hyperreal.”
In a modern culture where most music is manufactured and artificial, Max Shrager and Shannon Wise want to introduce their generation to a more honest kind of music. A kind that’s written from life and made with integrity and value. And all this before either of them can rent a car.
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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