Bostonian harmonica, sax, piano and guitar playing former florists assist gets major label backing to bring you his eagerly awaited third full length album. Eli Reed donned his Grandfathers 'Newsboy' hat whilst cutting his soul infused teeth in the Mississippi Delta and so in true blues, and East End, fashion was immediately nicknamed Eli 'Paperboy' Reed.
If you are unfamiliar with the work of Mr Reed but have a certain attraction to all things pertaining to time travel, especially those with a teen bias and overt fondness for the period they capture, then Eli may be the man you've been waiting for. Should 'Peggy Sue Got Married', 'Quantum Leap', Back To The Future', or 'Happy Days' for that matter, light your candle, 'Come And Get It' will be sure to keep it alight.
In the same way that the public has warmed to the crooner and jazz cool of Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble then do not be surprised if Eli has the same effect with his distinctly Soul, Motown and R n' B flavoured throwback music. (Give him a couple of years and who knows he could be mentoring X-Factor hopefuls on a night celebrating 'Soul Sensations'). After being bowled over by his fathers 'Ray Charles Box Set', Eli set about mastering his craft, including a spell playing piano at a South-Side Church in the Windy City. Now still only in his mid twenties Eli has certainly come of age musically. A Mojo 'Best New Comer' nominee and recent BBC Radio 2 record of the week recipient it seems that the Paperboy is starting to deliver.
Opening with a tribute to a little known Soul singer who, had it not been for his untimely death, was destined for bigger things, 'Young Girl', is a cover from a fellow soul singing Bostonian, Frank Lynch. Voice firmly to the front, backed by the obligatory harmonising backing singers and a sumptuous horn section Young Girl perfectly sets the tone of the album. Next up, 'Name Calling', is the sort of record that is occasionally rediscovered or found in a labels archive. A tune eating away in the back of a producers head that once in a while will find its way out through a film soundtrack or TV commercial. It is neither, Eli's own work is fundamentally not of our time, however much he may protest otherwise. 'Name Calling' could easily be a cover of a Wilson Pickett or Otis Redding number. Mr Reed has a particular liking for a good turn of phrase and this number probably has the albums best.........
'You went from name calling, to calling my name.'
'Help Me', and 'Just Like Me', lets Eli showcase his unique soulful and emotive vocal talents. If you didn't think a white boy could sing Soul properly until you saw The Commitments then listening to Eli Reed should finally rid you of the notion. The whole album has a wonderfully positive feel to it, evoking memories of a more naive and innocent time. The title track keeps up the energy and errs on the side of Frankie Valley or The Stylistics, tapered matching suits, chiffon dresses and choreographed dance routines. 'Pick A Number' lets Eli slow the pace to sing a more smooth R n' B track.........
'Five fingers on your left hand,
Six months I've saved for this wedding band,
Seven days a week I work for you,
Eight days 'til you say I do.'
The rest of the album stays on script and doesn't falter in its conviction or passion. Eli and his band, aided wonderfully by terrific horn section, and bassist come producer Mike Elizondo, have managed to put their own modern slant on what Eli describes as 'the greatest music of the 20th Century', namely Soul Music.
Whatever the era, decade or current trend or fad there is normally an out of time outfit to fulfil a wanting in the current days musical tapestry. Showaddywaddy did it, Stray Cats did it, Darts did it, even Shaky did it. Now it's the turn of Kitty Daisy and Lewis, and for the Soul side, Eli 'Paperboy' Reed. Yes, there is no doubting a certain novelty feel to the music, but if you throw caution to the wind and...............