Yep Roc (label)
12 April 2019 (released)
05 April 2019
This is absolutely sublime. Top quality soul, sung and played with real heart and a voice that puts me in mind of Smokey Robinson or early Curtis Mayfield.
Reed has had more than a few notable moments in his career, including relocating from Brookline to Clarksdale and then on to Chicago – if you can’t pick up a musical education on that journey then you never will – and 10 years as a recording artist.
But this album, wow, this transcends anything he has done before.
Unfortunately, I have no idea who is musically backing him on the album but it was recorded in the Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis and produced by Matt Ross-Spang.
Backing vocals on many of the tracks were supplied by The Masquerades who have been together in Memphis for half a century. They clearly had a massive impact on Reed “When they were out in the studio singing, they all had their arms around each other,” remembers Reed. “These guys have been singing together for 50 years, and I’m watching the three of them with their arms around each other all singing into one microphone. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Every song has a feel of great soul and the rhythms are infectious but his voice really carries the day, almost soprano, pure of tone and just completely natural.
The title track is classic heartfelt soul, looking back to the carefree days of kids in the streets and featuring a fine voiceover by Big Daddy Kane while ‘Lover’s Compensation’ really digs deep into the R&B canon
There is more than a hint of Stax in tracks like ‘Tryin’ with his voice taking a tougher edge and set against full on horns but the purity of the gorgeous closer ‘Couldn’t Find A Way’ brings us right back to Smokey & The Miracles.
No question, this is a great album. There is no sense of pastiche, just a true love for soul and R&B, and destined to be a classic.