Lee Fields first released a record in 1969 and has had a 45 year career of ups and down before finally coming to prominence with the 2009 release of his album “My World” on Truth And Soul records. He was originally marketed as a James Brown impersonator to such an extent that he was nicknamed “Little JB” and it was a while before he came to be accepted for his own vocal abilities.
His current record label have been largely responsible for his renaissance and have also released his latest album with The Expressions entitled “Emma Jean”. His band is made up of drums, bass, organ, lead guitar, tenor sax and trumpet and his set is a great mixture of soulful ballads alongside a couple of uptempo funky numbers. His former career as a James Brown impersonator is certainly evident in his yelps, spins, screeches and overall showmanship, all of which is met with enthusiastic claps and cheers from the relatively small crowd here tonight. It’s a great performance from an old school cat who understands how to entertain a crowd, a perfect way to kick off this show from a couple of Soul veterans.
Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have a new album aptly titled “Give The People What They Want” as their show is a masterclass of crowd pleasing uptempo dance numbers worthy of any soul revue from the Sixties.
Her band is made up of baritone sax, tenor sax, trumpet, percussion, drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitar. The inimitable Binky Griptite on rhythm guitar acts as MC, introducing the band before bringing Sharon Jones onto the stage. A dynamic performer with a great sense of humour, she belts out her set of soulful, funky songs in a style that’s part Tina Turner and part Gospel preacher. She brings Lee Fields out for one number, a classic male/female call and response tussle that perfectly showcases both their voices and attitude.
At one point, the band play a series of different funky grooves as Sharon Jones demonstrates a series of different dance styles. She’s also tells us about her battles with cancer in 2013 but weaves it into a quasi religious monologue about how she went from losing all her hair to refusing to give up and let the illness defeat her. She certainly looks to be fighting fit and is in high spirits so she must have done something right.
Her voice is definitely in fine form and she elicits a great response from the crowd, which is a bit bigger than when Lee a field was earlier although the venue is still far from full.
As well as being perfect for backing such a great singer, the Dap Kings are a great band in their own right, laying down uptempo funky tunes and looking great in their tailored suits.
A fantastic gig performed by a couple of Soul veterans who both know how to put on an entertaining and funky show.