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9 Jan 2017

Fields “Fields” 1969 US Heavy Psych

Fields “Fields” 1969 US Heavy Psych
Fields were a US psyche-blues-rock-soul trio consisting of Richard Fortunato (lead vocals and guitar), Patrick Burke (bass) and Steve Lagan (percussion). They existed for only about a year or so, released one single (Bide My Time), this eponymously titled album, and they collapsed after touring together. 

The LP itself comes in a somewhat horrid gatefold sleeve, with the cover mixing disgusting purple, green and mustard-yellow, with a dodgy sepia band photograph forming the centrepiece. But just as one should never judge a book by its cover, one should never judge an album by its artwork. Well, sometimes you probably should, but not in this case. 

Musically, this is a somewhat unfocused blending of styles, but it works. Sort of. An obvious influence is the hard blues-rock of the likes of Cream, but there’s also acid-rock and psychedelia, soul – Motown’s Brenda Holloway and Ray Charles’ backing singers The Raelettes (incorrectly spelled ‘Raylettes’ in the liner notes) make appearances – and even traces of funk in the mix. Mercifully, there are no Baker-esque drum solos and not too much in the way of guitar-wankery, and the album as a whole is very raw. 

Side One consists of songs between 3 and 5 minutes and for me the standout track is Take You Home – which was the B-side to the Bide My Time single. It’s a heavy blues rocker, with great riffs, which is basically about just wanting to fuck someone. Jump On You is also pretty good as well – and one can only presume it’s what happens once Fields have taken you home. 
But the real treasure of this album is Love is the Word, the 18-minute epic crazy-fest that takes up the entirety of Side Two. You kind of have to just hear, as it defies explanation – at least as far as my limited writing skills are concerned. If you forced me, Id’ say its the sound of Sgt. Pepper’s, The Doors, acid-Motown and Clapton having been shoved in a blender, gobbled up and then unceremoniously vomited back out. But I don’t think I’d be doing it justice. 

What I can say with certainty is, that this is the kind of thing I’d usually hate, but for whatever reason, in this particular case I love it. What it’s not, is some circle-jerky ‘jamming’ session – its an actual song with a structure. A lunatic structure, but a structure nonetheless. Plus it’s got horns and Brenda Holloway! 

All in all, this is far from a great album, and certainly not some rare lost treasure. But its interesting, and I for one like it. Plus, they get bonus points for (allegedly) being named after the great W.C. Fields…… 

A single self-titled album – that’s what the California power trio Fields left behind in 1969. Guitarist Richard Fortunato, bassist Patrick Burke, and drummer Steven Lagana had been deeply influenced by Cream, by the sound of things. Fields recorded this slab for UNI with producer Bill Rinehart (formerly of Emitt Rhodes’ Merry-Go-Round). The first four cuts are solidly in the hard and heavy blues-rock terrain, with twinges of psychedelia tossed in the opening “Elysian Fields” and “Jump on You,” two standouts with lots of great guitar work. Things begin to change a bit on “Sun Would Set,” where the wasted psychedelia takes precedence over the rough and tumble; even with the Raelettes on backing vocals and the spaced-out wasted lyrics, it’s still guitar-drenched and driven into the red so the impressionistic touches are hardly noticeable. Side two is comprised of a single cut – “Love Is the Word” is nearly 19 minutes long and is one of those utterly ambitious and crazy experiments that actually worked, with bluesed-out acid rock guitar, whomping basslines, and a skittering though steady snare and shimmering cymbals. An overdriven organ enters the picture and then comes the fuzz. After about five minutes of power soloing, a Stax-inspired soul riff is established, the horns come pushing their way in, and we’re off to the races. Along with the band, Northern soul chanteuse (courtesy of Motown Records) Brenda Holloway and the Raelettes come in from outer space and enter the groove, making this a full-blown psychedelic-soul tune that never, ever gives up its groove, grease, or grit. The vocals here are almost as deliriously powerful and lusty as the screaming six-string and overblown bass groove. Thank the gods that the Fields’ LP has been dusted off, remastered, and reissued by Fallout on CD. Simply amazing…. by Thom Jurek……allmusic……….. 

Side One 

1. Elysian Fields (3:40) 
2. Bide My Time (4:31) 
3. Take You Home (3:00) 
4. Jump On you (3:18) 
5. Sun Would Set (5:19) 

Side Two 

1. Love Is The Word (18:22) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..