Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley at Echo Mountain, Asheville, North Carolina
Lee Fields songs are FOR the ladies, but they're meant for the guys. As a soul man, Fields and his band, The Expressions, are conscious that the ladies and the guys find it nearly impossible to keep their hands and other parts off of one another. They are helplessly drawn to all of the gnarled miscellany that such attractions bring with them. They are so damned helpless that it's not even funny. They know that they're in for it. They are aware that most of these things start off hot and joyous, but they'll leave you lying flat on your back, crushed and gutted. Still, you rush into them, knowing that mistakes will be made and regrets will be many. They will all be distinct and they will all grind themselves into the people who make them. They won't really define these people or who they are, but they will be part of a definition and trends will start to be seen, patterns will take effect and people will come to know their qualities and tendencies all too well.
In Lee Fields songs, the men tend to run lovelorn and clumsy. They are only capable of so much, though they believe that they're capable of a whole lot more. They are resigned to their heartaches even when they feel as if they've done their best, with the women that they couldn't help but love. They know their limitations and they've seen those limitations, once again, be the bane of their romantic lives. They wish that they were stronger, but they are as they are. They are insatiable lovers. They are guided by all of the eye candy, by pretty legs and sweet smiles, right into the same predicaments that they've found themselves in forever. Everything gets sticky and tricky until it all goes haywire once again.
These songs, sung by a man with such deep feeling and the genuine authenticity of a man TRYING to be good, attempting to present a new-and-improved version of himself, are odes to the construction of a lasting romance and nods to the belief that new love is nothing if not all good intention. The women in these songs are those who make men hungry to be better. Suddenly, now in the presence of this one great, beautiful woman, they are SURE that they can become better, given some time and faith. Fields sings about one such woman, sure that, "You can take a man and make him turn right." It can be done. She can do it and he'll be happy to bring about such a change. He will become a good man, an honest man yet. He will finally be devoted. Until he's not, and that's the elephant in the room that these great songs are built around - knowing full well that the endings will resemble each other, good intensions or not. The same woman will make that same man feel like "less than a man," should he revert to his old habits, which is almost inevitable. It's then when the man will sing, "You never miss your well, til your well run dry/Seem like only yesterday you were here smiling."