THE DEAL: Revitalizing soul with an original twist.
THE GOOD: Soul is not dead. Over the past few years, John Nemeth, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Janelle Monae have revitalized the genre with new original music based on the old school soul sound. Add Eli Paperboy Reed to the list. Reed says his sound is based on classic Chicago soul. You can hear echoes of Mel and Tim's '69 crossover pop/soul hit "Backfield in Motion" in the title cut, but Reed goes them one better, adding a bundle of blood-curdling James Brown screams to the mix. There's also a strong Tyrone Davis feel on "Help Me." But Reed also did his roots homework as well, moving to Clarksdale, Miss., at the age of 18, honing his skills in juke joints, bringing back some grit with his soul as he demonstrates on "Time Will Tell." On "You Can Run On" Reed shows off his gospel chops earned while playing organ and singing in a South Side Chicago church for former soul-singer-turned-evangelist Mitty Collier.
THE BAD: Reed has been flying under the radar till this major record label release.
THE VERDICT: Get some of what Reed has for sale as soon as you can. This is the real deal.