2008 appears to the be the year of the funk-soul revival, with momentum gained perhaps by the Dap-Kings-abetted Amy Winehouse smash Back to Black last year. It seems that there is an audience for sweaty, down-to-earth soul music after all. And one of my recent discoveries is Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and his band the True Loves. Reed is a 24-year old Boston resident who appears to be borrowing James Brown’s muse, and cheating on her with the muse of Wilson Pickett while he’s at it.
On a recent compilation from MOJO magazine, I was introduced to the closing track on Eli’s album, Roll with You, the track in question being “(Do the) Boom Boom”, a song after the tradition of Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances” and Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”. The tradition of course has a double entendre at its core; the “dance that’s goin’ around from the old folks down” sure as shit ain’t square dancing, good people. It’s been a while since I’ve heard new music so full of energy, enthusiasm, and downright verve. The only things I can hope for is that more artists of this calibre emerge in the mainstream and make this revival more than just a passing fad.
You can hear “(Do the) Boom Boom” on Eli ‘Paperboy” Reed’s MySpace page, among other tracks that betray a love for classic soul music.
And for good measure, here’s an interview with Eli “Paperboy” Reed, explaining his background and his curious nickname too.