Lee Fields has made another sumptuous soul album to add to his pile. The veteran singer continues to forge Southern R&B music that sounds as if it was boosted from the archives of Stax Records. But has predictability become an issue?
You won’t find many surprises on It Rains Love. Fields’s weathered voice is as powerful as ever, while his band, The Impressions, provide the gentle guitar licks and warm horn sections on which he’s long sounded comfortable.
Still, it's hard to listen to the album without thinking about the recent deaths of Fields's friends Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley.
In my mind, the trio are the giants of the 21st-century New York soul revival, so it's wonderful to hear Fields still making this kind of music. Songs like Blessed with the Best and the title track are big-hearted numbers that are easy to fall for.
Over the heavier drums of Wake Up, Fields turns his attention to modern America, condemning lying politicians and those who use the term “fake news” to pour cold water on genuine social issues.
It’s a rare moment that puts a date on what is mostly another set of lovely throwback numbers courtesy of a retro soul master.