LEE FIELDS Problems (Soul Fire) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
It's intriguing how the James Brown sound that helped old-school soul shouter Lee Fields bust out of obscurity during the early phase of the funk revival movement is now precisely what prevents him from moving beyond the world of 45 collectors. There are brief detours into New Orleans- and Chicago-style variations on the familiar funk bump on Problems, which sounds like it could've been cut in 72, but mostly Fields just sticks to playing the Soul Brother No. 1 role he does at least as well as Bobby Williams. It's time Fields got a brand new bag, preferably one of his own. Fields makes his Toronto debut backed by New York's Sugarman 3 and Co. as part of Do Right! at the Rivoli Wednesday (March 5).