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Those familiar with this site’s past features on The Budos Band and Naomi Shelton know my love for Brooklyn’s Daptone Records is well-documented. On the surface, the label (whose motto is “Keep putting soul up”) has a couple big hurdles to overcome: it is a revivalist label, releasing music whose sound is purposefully outdated, and as a result, operates within a generic niche, namely soul and funk inspired by the original sounds of the tail end of the 1960s through the mid ’70s. It is a testament to Daptone’s curatorial prowess, then, that their releases are almost universally stellar and always satisfying, turning those supposed limitations into a glorious mission statement. Those seeking to dip a toe into these retro waters would be advised to shell out for the upcoming 23 track Daptone Gold compendium. To be released on November 24th, this collection brings together an assortment of album tracks, vinyl singles, rarities, and unreleased tracks from the many artists who have contributed to the cause.
One such artist is Lee Fields, whose “Stand Up” was released in 2006 as a 45 rpm single and is the twelfth song on the compilation. Fields is the sort of artist the folks at Daptone love to resurrect–a marginal but much admired funk vocalist in the 1970s who still performs and records with gusto in the current era. This 7″ cut turned out to be a prelude to My World, an LP Fields released earlier this year on Truth & Soul Records (and his first since the 1970s), and begins with the insinuating groove of percussion instruments and a full-figured bass line.
The “Sugarman” in the artist credit is Daptone co-founder Neal Sugarman, who keeps things tight with the help of Dave Guy’s fiery trumpet and guitarist Al Street. Street’s precise plucking recalls the style of venerated Jamaican Ernest Ranglin (another artist whose career found a second wind thanks to a committed revivalist scene), but it’s obvious that Fields remains the star of this show. Forty years on, his groans and passion are as raw and compelling as ever. For anyone with a touch of the down and dirty in their blood, “Stand Up” should add a little extra swagger to their strut.