Boston is renowned for many things, but its soul/blues/R&B scene isn't one of them, but that's about to change with the advent of Eli "Paperboy" Reed and his backing band the True Loves. Reed and the Loves true love is '60s R&B in all its multi-faceted glory, and they flawlessly re-create the feel and sound of the times on their superb debut album Roll with You. Reed seems to have imbibed the greats of the day with his first breath, and their influences seep across his performances and his songwriting. "Am I Wasting My Time," for instance, is the best song Clarence Carter neither penned nor sung, but Reed makes you believe he did both. The title track "I'll Roll with You" evokes Sam Cooke at his most emotive, "Am I Wasting My Time" captures the soulful depths of Otis Redding, while Reed is even "The Satisfier" for devotees of James Brown. There are echoes of Motown girl groups, the excitement of duos like Sam & Dave and the Isley Brothers, and splashes of Stax stars galore. Reed is a veritable one-man revival show, belting out his songs with a fervor that's entirely authentic. The True Loves are his perfect match, as comfortable bounding through the kind of bouncy R&B that gave birth to rock, like "Won't Give Up Without a Fight," as they are with the funky "Satisfier." They strut through the exhilarating "(Doin' The) Boom Boom," and shine on such downtempo, haunting numbers as "She Walks" and "It's Easier," with every arrangement highlighting their skills. Neither the band nor the singer hit a single false or wrong note within this set. This sounds like a greatest hits set from the day, although every single song within is new, a classic album that every R&B/soul fan must have.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene