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Lee Fields: Soul Survivor

Soul singer Lee Fields may be an R&B veteran, but don't call him a relic. Since the 1970s, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums — 15 and counting — and part of the secret to his success has been flexibility. To younger fans, especially those lauding his latest album, My World, Fields is retro-soul royalty, with a voice that recalls the heyday of Otis Redding and James Brown. For his older fans, Fields has been a stalwart of Southern soul/blues music: a thriving regional scene that's little known in the mainstream but supported by a deep network of radio stations and clubs.

By moving between the worlds of Southern R&B and retro-soul, Fields has flourished as an artist while maintaining ties to the musical traditions that have grounded him for 40 years.

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Oliver Wang is an culture writer, scholar, and DJ based in Los Angeles. He's the author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area and a professor of sociology at CSU-Long Beach. He's the creator of the audioblog soul-sides.com and co-host of the album appreciation podcast, Heat Rocks.