Album: Eli 'Paperboy' Reed & the True Loves, Roll With You (Q Division)

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The Independent Culture

There's a point where emulation tips over into imitation, and Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves tiptoe delicately along that line. A seven-piece blue-eyed-soul band steeped in brooding Memphis R&B and northern-soul stompers, they bring a vintage feel to their (all original) material, recalling the propulsive grooves and searing emotions that characterised Stax Records at its peak.

The punchy horn and guitar fills of "Stake Your Claim" are purest Redding and Cropper, "Am I Wasting My Time?" is an impassioned pleader in the James Carr/OV Wright mode, and "I'll Roll With You" is built around a familiar Sam Cooke template, all rendered with respect and no shortage of poise on the part of the 24-year-old Reed.

Elsewhere, "(Do The) Boom Boom" is a straight-ahead boogaloo stomp, and "(Am I Just) Fooling Myself?" a smouldering blues; but in its aping of Van Morrison's classic "Caravan", "She Walks" is a step too far over the line.

Pick of the album:'Stake Your Claim', 'Am I Wasting My Time?', '(Am I Just) Fooling Myself?', 'Take My Love With You'