Category Archives: wilson pickett

Eli “Paperboy” Reed

Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Before I write another word, simply listen to this…

  Poor Side of Town

THIS, is who I imagined that Taylor Hicks would be after he won American Idol.  A little Wilson Pickett, a little Otis Redding, and a lot James Brown, Eli honed his skills by street performing on Harvard Square in high school, after teaching himself piano, guitar and harmonica.  (Sound familiar?) 

The son of a music critic who exposed his son to a vast soul record collection (again, sound familiar?), Eli ended up in Clarksdale, MS after high school, eventually ending up under the tutledge of legendary blues drummer, Sam Carr.  He frequently adorned his grandpa’s chapeau, which garnered the “Paperboy” nickname.

With a cool blues moniker, a degree in Southern blues, and a HUGE passion, Eli was convinced to enroll in the University of Chicago by his concerned parents.  While in Chi Town, Eli broadened his soul horizons by reaching out to Mitty Collier, who scored the 1964 hit, I Had a Talk With My Man.

Now involved in ministry, Mitty hired Eli Reed as her music minister, where he served for a year before returning to Boston with a different kind of education.  There, he put together his band, The True Loves, and recorded and self-released his first collection of originals and covers entitled, Sings “Walkin’ and Talkin’ (For My Baby)” and Other Smash Hits. 

After a phenomenal performance at the 2007 SXSW, Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves recorded and released Roll With You on the Boston-based, Q Division label.  (Even the album art is retro boss.)


Some highlights from that compilation:

  Am I Wasting My Time (diggin’ on the Aretha shirt) — oddly reminiscient of LaMontagne’s You Are the Best Thing

  Take My Love With You on Jools Holland

  Doin’ the Boom Boom

  The Satisfier

Eli is currently embarking on a European tour and is recently signed to Virgin Records, after opening for the likes of Dave Matthews recently.

Eli’s NPR interview shows his love of music and his enthusiasm to spread it around.  At 24, he produces a much older and “experienced” sound.  But, then again, Otis, James, Jackie and Wilson were all about his age when they came into their own.  He is proficient at old soul, mixed with passion and love of music.  His music is infectious and draws you in.  Many critics and observers have dubbed him as the next sensation.  I am definitely on board.

Paperboy, stay true to your school and you shall go far…perhaps an example for many.

Visit Eli “Paperboy” Reed at and buy some stuff.  You will not be disappointed.


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Soulful Friday

Limping into the weekend…2,000 point drop in the stock market, work kickin’ my butt, gutters are clogged, and the country’s going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Thankfully, there’s a little soul for the soul.

  It’s All Wrong, But It’s Alright, Percy Sledge


  Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Wilson Pickett


  Come in From the Cold,  Marc Broussard


  My Last Regret, Robert Cray


and a song from my youth….suddenly we’re back to 1976.

  A Real Mutha for Ya,  Johnny “Guitar” Watson

Hang in there, the weekend is almost here.  Next week HAS to be better.


Posted by on October 9, 2008 in Soul, weekdays, wilson pickett


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Funky Broadway

  Funky Broadway, Wilson Pickett

Need some Wilson Pickett today….Happy Friday.

To those of you on the Eastern Seaboard…stay safe and dry.

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Posted by on September 5, 2008 in funk, music legends, Soul, wilson pickett



Spotlight On….Wilson Pickett – I’m In Love

Year:  1968

Artist:  Wilson Pickett

Songwriter:  Bobby Womack

Label:  Atlantic Records

Recorded:  American Studios, Memphis, TN

Producers:  Tom Dowd, Tommy Cogbill

The title track from Pickett’s 1968 album that also featured Stagger Lee and Bring It On Home to Me, I’m in Love stands out as the one song in “The Wicked’s” repetoire that shows any kind of vulnerability or longing.  Most of Pickett’s hits were displays of his vast male bravado and self assurance, so I’m in Love was an enjoyable deviation from his norm.

Like most pioneers of soul music, Wilson Pickett started out in gospel and perhaps the brash sexual nature of his popular music had a little something to with that.  Many of the sexy, soul singers of the ’60s and ’70s, like Otis Redding, Bobby Womack and Sam Cooke all became dichotomies of their upbringing by embracing and advancing sensual, risque’ music that quickly became the music of love.

In 1962, Atlantic Records signed Wilson Pickett as part The Falcons, who had a modest R&B hit with I Found a Love.  Eddie Floyd of Knock On Wood fame, as well as Sir Mack Rice who penned the classics Respect Yourself and Pickett’s Mustang Sally, were also members of the famed Falcons.

Soon after, Pickett went solo but had no success in his first few attempts.  Atlantic executive, Jerry Wexler, then made the fateful decision to send Wilson on down to Memphis to record with Stax musicians and writers.  There, Steve Cropper worked with Wilson Pickett to write In the Midnight Hour, which became a huge hit in 1965.  The Stax collaborations would produce other hits, like 634-5789 and Don’t Fight It.  After Stax owner, Jim Stewart, banned all outside production in 1965, Pickett moved on to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, where he recorded Mustang Sally and Funky Broadway.

In 1967, Wexler arranged for Wilson to go back to Memphis, but this time at the pretigious, American Studios.  There, Pickett recorded the I’m in Love album.  He would subsequently return to FAME to do a funky version of The Beatles’ Hey Jude, with Duane Allman sitting in, but the I’m in Love album would prove to be his apex.

In the single I’m in Love, Pickett exudes sex and charisma, with a side of desparation that is so appealing to women.


The lyrics, or rather, the phrasings create a sense of wanting and needing mixed with jubilation.  Coupled with Pickett’s steamy delivery, I’m in Love is a pure anthem of love.

I´m in love, yes I am
Love, love, love
I´m in love, sho ´nuff in love
My friends all wonder what´s come over me
I´m as happy as a man can be
I´m in love (love, love)
I´m in love (love, love) love
I´m in love (love, love)
I´m so glad I can tell the world
(love, love, love)
I´m too proud on my own
(love, love, love)
Yes I am
(love, love, love)
I´m sho ´nuff in love
(love, love, love)
I feel just like a baby boy (ooooo)
On a Christmas mornin´ with a brand new toyI´m in love (love, love)
I´m in love, love, love
I´m in love (love, love)
Sho´ nuff´ in love (love, love)
I can shout about it, yeah
(love, love, love)
I can cry about it sometime
(love, love, love)
Whoa sho ´nuff in love
(love, love, love)
Sho ´nuff in love, yes I am
(love, love, love)
I can knock on wood, now
(love, love, love)


This song is one of my absolute FAVORITE songs.  Wilson Pickett’s passion and enthusiasm has yet to be matched by today’s artists in terms of delivering REAL soul music, with the possible exception of Marc Broussard.  When I hear this song, it really gives me that “feel good all over” feeling and makes me want to grab Mr. D to cut a rug.


Posted by on July 21, 2008 in music legends, oldies, Soul, wilson pickett