Lee Fields & The Expressions ‘It Rains Love’ LP/2CD/CD (Big Crown) 5/5

Well, there I was wallowing in the beauty that is the new Sugar Ray Rayford album when this shot through… and to say time has stood still is an understatement, I have had the album on in the car, here at home and on head-phones whilst watching my springer chase everything but catch bugger all. It’s dominating my listening pleasure and from the off you’re stunned. The top side of the recent 45, the title track, “It Rains Love” is a subtle stepper that gets into your head and won’t let go, and what with the Soul Essence weekender coming up, I can envisage this getting multiple plays. Of course the other side of the 45, “Will I Get Off Easy”, is on here too, another stunning piece with very subtle 60s influences – I played this side on Dean Anderson’s TNT soul show on Radio Newark recently and it got a very healthy response.

Next up, “Blessed with the Best” is a stuttering bass-heavy chugger, “Two Faces” has a Timmy Thomas type intro and then morphs into a cracking mid tempo dancer, while the track of the album for me just has to be the 60s influenced “You’re What’s Needed in My Life” complete with female backing singers, stabbing subtle horns – ‘WOW’ – this really stands tall. The dance floor will rock to “Prisoner of Love”, with its urgent chink chink bass line, stabbing horns and sweeping strings. In a couple of places the music breaks down and then ups its game again, played loud this really does get you going, throughout the album this wonderful Tenor just maintains the grits as he has done for the past 40+ years, actually his voice hasn’t changed that much at all. Another track of note is the rolling bubbling “A Promise is a Promise”, one I’m sure will get spins out too.

This album is an absolute must with something for everyone, it’s available from the 5th April on both black and limited translucent red vinyl, double CD and single CD formats, so no excuses for not grabbing this.

Brian Goucher

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Lee Fields & The Expressions ‘Special Night’ LP/CD (Big Crown) 5/5