Lee Fields & The Sweet Divines @ Southpaw, 5/21/11
For the uninitiated, Lee Fields is perfectly positioned upon the cresting wave of Soul music revival that’s been swelling in the nation this last decade. Recently cutting albums with Truth & Soul Records (distributed by Stones Throw Recordings) and Daptone Records, Fields has proven himself a classic talent with a raw impassioned sound.
To catch this lyrical powerhouse live is a real treat and one can imagine the anticipation running throughout Southpaw last Saturday night as the openers started their set. I’d never heard The Sweet Divines before, though they got their start in early 2008 and had a rep for solid soul, and I found myself just as excited to finally witness it. Backed by the Divine Soul Rhythm Band, seven incredibly on point musician’s led by the always sharp J.B. Flatt, the group got us jumping early with their tight arrangements, impressive showmanship, and the liquid gold that was the four front women’s voices.
Decked out in matching outfits designed in that classic soul tradition, the gals shimmered with coordinated dance routines, grooved across the stage as each took a turn as lead, and impressed with their emotive voices. These gals were feeling this music, not just going through the motions, their passion clear.
The best was yet to come though, for The Sweet Divines and their rhythm backers were to combine with Lee Fields to form a potent force of fused funk & soul. Transitioning from the classic soul of the ladies’ set, the show took on a rougher edge. To all you soul brothers, sisters, mamas, and papas out there, but especially you soul babies; don’t pass up a chance to catch either of these class acts; the groove is totally worth it.