Eli "Paperboy" Reed at Joe's Pub, March 31, 2010

Ernest Barteldes By

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Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves
Joe's Pub
March 31, 2010
New York, NY

Playing before a nearly sold-out crowd, the seven-piece True Loves (Freddy DeBoe: Baritone Sax; Mike Brooks: Tenor Sax; Patriq Moody: Trumpet; Jerrell Clopton: Drums; Michael Montgomery: Bass; Ryan Spraker: Guitar; J.B. Flatt: Organ) kicked off with a short 60s-inspired funk theme that warmed up the audience in preparation for what was to come: a collection of songs reminiscent of the golden age of Stax Records. As Reed appeared on stage, the musicians immediately went into the "The Satisfier," a James Brown-meets-Otis Redding funk that served as the perfect background for the Massachusetts-born singer to explore his vocal range.

The group definitely sounded solid, and Reed has what it takes: strong vocal and guitar chops, and the ability to write songs that are immediately catchy. He followed the opener with "Name Callin," another up-tempo tune from his upcoming disc, Come And Get It, where he also had the opportunity to showcase his guitar skills, playing on a 1956 semi-acoustic Gibson.

Playing without interruption, Reed went into "Help Me," this time a number closer to Otis Redding's style. He had the crowd chant the chorus as he sang in falsetto while playing well-placed guitar riffs.

One of the concert's best moments came when the band put their instruments down to sing backup on "You Can Run On,"a mid-tempo doo-wop, when Reed channeled his inner Carl Perkins, playing short chord-based solos between verses. Also memorable was "Young Girl," a tune written by little-known singer Frank Lynch, who passed away early in his career. Apparently a true fan of the music, Reed approached the song with gusto, and received a great response for his efforts.

Reed has the virtues of a great star in the making. He has the stage presence, the charisma and the talent necessary to make it big as blue-eyed soul singer. With a major-label release on the way, one can only expect him to be playing much larger venues in the near future.

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