Bentley's Bandstand: Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Come and Get It

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BY BILL BENTLEY

Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Come and Get It

Soul music cannot be contained by time. It is all about expressing emotions that transcend the moment, those feelings which flood the heart and last forever. The music was born in the church, really, when the secular concerns of love and sex overtook the confines of God and possessed the body and mind. There was no way to stop them, obviously, and why should there be?

Try to imagine a world where those powerful ways of man and woman didn’t exist and there isn’t much to fuel our daily fires. Sure, the spiritual is where we all ended up anyway, but getting there needs hope and faith. What better way to find that than in the arms of others. A church pew can get extremely uncomfortable without some dreams of a future with others driving us on. Once rhythm & blues and church co-mingled in the hands of the early soul masters like Ray Charles and other heroes, it was all over but the shouting. But like all musical styles, the attention of the masses come and go, and by the late ’70s there wasn’t much call for those mighty sounds anymore.

The circle is coming back around, thanks to people like Eli “Paperboy” Reed and the unrelenting assault on the senses through pure soul and the invigorating emotions of songs that light our fire. Reed’s first major label release is a barn burner, the kind of album that gives cause to believe there is no stopping this wave of funky feelings and righteous raucousness. He can sing like he was born to this world. His circuitous route from the Northeast to Mississippi to Chicago and back shows the dedication of a true believers. But this ain’t no thrift shop journey. Eli Reed is in it for real, with a band that knows when to blow and when to breeze. His momentous voice is all there, and it would be hard-pressed to think of anyone out there know who could jumpy his pony.

And like Michael Buble started with a Frank Sinatra-fixation and opened the door to a new world for himself, Eli Reed is dipping down to Memphis for inspiration, but jacking up his attack to include the cosmos. The true test comes on ballads, and “Pick Your Battles” proves this young man deserves a medal and then some. The next time you’re looking for the promise of Saturday night, when everything seems possible if you could only find the key to open the door, try “Paperboy” out. He’s got a money-back guarantee to turn on your love light and then some.

Bill Bentley is a writer, musician, publicist, record producer and A&R director. He once played drums with Lightnin’ Hopkins.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.