Come and Get It

It’s not surprising that another young singer has discovered the irrepressible, excitement generated by the kind of soul music that permeated the music charts in the 1960’s. What is impressive is the fact that 24 year old singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed has written 11 songs that sound authentic to the period dominated by Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding.

Reed’s major label debut, Come and Get It is produced by Mike Elizondo who is best known as a hip-hop producer. His previous work includes stints with Dr. Dre and Eminem. What at first sounds like an odd choice of producer ends up sounding an inspired choice for an album inspired by 1960’s and 70s Chicago soul music. Elizondo finds the perfect balance of Stax Record horn section (The True Loves), strings, and guitar and percussion driven rhythms. Reed acknowledges that Elizondo’s alternative music background complimented Reed’s knowledge –the singer is an aficionado of soul and blues music. He also points out Elizondo’s ability to coax strong performances from the band.

Reed grew up in Boston, listening to his father’s extensive record collection. While studying at the University of Chicago Reed began exploring the music of the Windy City. Fascinated by more obscure acts, Reed sought out Mitty Collier, a singer who charted a national hit in 1964. Reed spent time playing with her at her church. Reed also spent time in Clarksdale, Mississippi, playing in local soul bands. This hands on experience gives Reed a distinct sound that helps set him apart from other artists who are currently exploring older soul music. Opening with “Young Girl” Reed pays tribute to a little known Boston soul singer, Frank Lynch, who died as his song was climbing the charts. All other songs are written by Reed but you can Collier’s influence on the Gospel influenced “You Can Run On.” “Pick Your Battles” features strings that dominated Ray Charles’ mid-sixies records. “Explostion” features the kind of high voltage energy and screaming vocals reminiscent of James Brown. “Just Like Me” builds to a fantastic crescendo of horns. “Name Calling” is a fun tune that plays with name calling as a metaphor for an evolving relationship as a couple mature from children to lovers.

Through it all the anchor of this album is Eli Reed’s voice. He rolls effortlessly from swagger to heart wrenching emotion, to soul stirring howls to riveting falsetto. His unabashed enthusiasm for the music is evident in every song as is his respect for all of the singers who paved the way for this rising artist

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)