Lee Fields

The Man In The Alligator Suit.

Lee Fields works in the happy business—by the end of each show he wants everyone smiling back at him. What a better way to start than with an alligator suit. Everyone should experience some of this magic and today we start at his home.

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With SXSW still fresh in recollection, I can’t help but return to the morning of last year’s foundation-shaking performance from the “Faithful Man” who never keeps a laugh inside himself, Lee Fields. Last week, Lee invited YT to his family’s home in New Jersey. “I’ll pick y’all up at the station,” as visions of a fine man in a fine suit with a long Eldorado fired engines of anticipation.

But it was Blue Jeans casual Lee who greeted and took us on a tour that included none of the MTV Cribs-style trappings like drinks in the fridge, whips in the garage, master bedroom where the magic happens.

“Kris and I, we’re not that glamorous, we keep it humble around here.”

Maybe what Fields meant to say was the “magic” in his home can’t be traced to any one room, or to Houdini, his spunky Pomeranian. The magic is everywhere, following him like an obedient pup, an easy feeling hanging in the air like good A/C.

Soaking up his last days at home with Kris before yet another back-to-back US tour, Lee looked back on a 40-year career that started singing backup for Kool & The Gang, a gig that learned him discipline. “Those guys would end their shows and already be thinking how to make the next one better,” he explained. “And they were never looking for the after party. They were much more interested in creating the party right then and there for their fans,” a trick Lee learned and lived on.


“Those guys would end their shows and already be thinking how to make the next one better”

On our way back to the station we drove through downtown New Jersey, and Lee pointed to the top of an office building. “One time we played a reception in that building. It was wild.” Not many people can say that, simply because who performs at an office? Those who are driven to make people happy, and have the ability to turn a stuffy room of cubicles into a celebration, I suppose.

The fearless superhero of soul does have his Achilles heel: early mornings. Speaking of our session, he told us the 8am wake up call had him frightened, “thinking ‘damn’.” But when YT came to the rescue with a breakfast buffet of ham and eggs, he never felt better. Lee then continued to boast of his own barbequing skills, and being that giving man he is, extended an invite back to his place to BBQ with his family this summer. See you there!

Revisit that session and be sure to catch Fields when he comes to spread the love in a city near you.

A Faithful Man

Lee Fields & The Expressions - Faithful Man

Temptation always was a whore. A momentary compromise of better principles, constantly available and never worth the trouble. How strong, exactly, do you have to be to hold fast? To not compromise? Maybe as strong as Lee Fields, who has the temerity to sing soul and funk songs like the last four decades never happened. He dresses like a man unaccustomed to half measures, in a slick tan jacket made from an animal one imagines he wrestled and skinned himself. He stands at the microphone like a mountain — specifically, a volcano. When he finally erupts in a scream at the climax of “Faithful Man”, it is with the power to shake the house, and all those demons, loose.