Produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck, and brilliantly performed by the Expressions, Special Night was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely to tape in three weeks at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. A sense of urgency, equal parts fun and inspiration, and a decent amount of beer and Jack Daniels were the driving forces during the sessions that produced Lee Fields & The Expressions latest offering, a masterclass in soul music past and present.
Special Night is also the first record in the Expressions catalogue in which every song was written jointly by Lee Fields and The Expressions. "When I record, I make every song like I actually mean it. I mean every word I say. On Special Night I'm talking to my lady – literally, expressing the way I feel." says Fields. "You can tell if a song is real or not, and every moment I'm recording, those moments are real, this is a record about what people do in real life."
For one example, he cites the song "Work to Do," which tells the story of "a guy going to counseling, drinking too much, apologizing to the old lady and trying to keep family together, doing the manly thing." On "Make This World," Lee makes a nod back to his early funk roots with a cautionary tale about the health of the planet. As always, sticking to the formula but pushing the boundaries "Never Be Another You" from the first note doesn't sound like something you would hear on a Lee record, that is until he starts singing anyhow. A low tempo ballad with a head nodding drum track, sparse piano lines, and all the space Lee needs to lay down what is sure to be one of his flyest love songs.
Whether tackling a tune about love lost, found, or broader topics like the state of humanity, Lee has a very unique and honest perspective that is on display with each unforgettable performance. Also, The Expressions have never been sharper, they, along with Lee, have created a collection of music on Special Night which holds court with pretty much any soul music that came before it.