Lee Fields

Let's Get a Groove On

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Lee Fields spent most of the '90s on the Ace label, recording soul-blues albums whose funkiness was often dampened by cheap-sounding, partly synthesized backing tracks. Judging by his performance on his Desco Records debut full-length Let's Get a Groove On, Fields' move to the pioneering old-school funk-revival label freed him to do the kind of gritty, authentic funk album he'd been itching to record for quite some time. Laying out his principle of "rough...nasty...genuine" funk in a spoken intro, Fields positively smokes through the whole record, capturing all the fire of late-'60s James Brown (whom he strongly and unashamedly resembles, vocally) with the help of the Desco house band, the Soul Providers, who lay down a richly organic set of guitar-and-organ-dominated funk backings. Let's Get a Groove On is blatantly derivative of its influences, but the simple act of returning wholeheartedly to those influences -- in a musical climate which has assimilated and moved away from them -- could in itself be considered an innovation. Regardless, it's a stunning performance from Fields and the record that fulfills Desco's promise -- quite possibly one of 1999's best, and definitely one of its most overlooked.

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