Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Eli 'Paperboy' Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19

Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19 Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19 Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19 Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed: Dingwalls, London 11/6/19

London’s Dingwalls played host to a highlight gig of the Future Juke blues festival when Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed played his only UK date of a short European tour to push his latest album "99 Cent Dreams".

Jamaican-born British blues stalwart Big Joe Louis opened the show, delivering a superb set with a beautiful guitar sound and varied style, from rocking boogie to old-style blues. Accompanied by double bass, tracks included "Your Enemies Cannot Harm You" and the classic "That’s Alright" for which he was joined by Reed on harmonica. It’s great when the headliner lends support to the support. One good turn deserves another it was to transpire.

Reed brought his band from the States with him on this tour, with drums, keys, bass, sax and trumpet. Opening with a brief refrain of "Young Girl"’ the sound was blistering from the off. Within minutes Reed had confirmed his reputation as one of the best live acts around. "Cut Ya Down" led into "Bank Robber", the first of seven tracks to come from the new album.

"Coulda Had This" with its clever chord progressions and doo-wop influences were pure class. Soul screamer extraordinaire Reed keeps the legacy of the James Brown's shouts alive.
"Wasting Time" had a great bass riff and strong backbeat from the drummer who had a permanent smile, as did many in the audience. Then the title track of Reed’s sixth and newest album "99 Cent Dreams". Reed is very proud of this new album and rightly so.

The uptempo "Tryin’" led into "Roll With You", the track that made it all happen for Reed. During "Never Found A Girl" he broke a guitar string and Big Joe Louis returned the favour that Reed had paid him earlier by lending Reed his instrument for the rest of his set.

Reed slowed "Said She Would" right down in the middle section to give his voice room to shine and let himself go. He did.

After the recent passing of Dr John, Reed came out and began his encore with a solo version of the slow blues "Losing Battle" before the band returned to belt out "Come And Get It" and the spirited gospel boogie of "Take My Love". Hallelujah!

Reed brings joy and energy to a room and we hope he’s back in the UK again soon. He has everything you could want from a live show; passion, energy, humility and engagement. In a word... awesome!

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