Slip this puppy into your disc player and before you can say I give it an 87, it has a good beat and you can dance to it, Laura Reed & Deep Pocket will have you bobbing your head and tapping your feet and wishing you were at the local pub ordering your favorite brew. Slightly funky and not even close to mainstream, Well is one of those catchy numbers one would expect to be buried amongst the rest, relying more on choogling beat than melody, but it is perfect introduction to the band. Fronted by Laura Reed, who spent part of her youth soaking up South African culture (she was born and spent her early years there), the band features a rhythm section ready to switch beats on a dime and more than willing to do so, judging by the varied tunes on Soul:Music. From the funky Well, Deep Pockets falls off the edge with the slow bluesy Forces At Play, Reed's voice emulating, I swear to God, muted trumpet (and very well, indeed) before reaching deep for a voice which reaches out and grabs you before you know it. Voices mentioned for comparison purposes in press notices are Amy Winehouse, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and even Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and pardon me if I was skeptic because those are some strong and unique voices there, but I'll be damned if halfway through Forces, I began to hear it. It isn't the voice itself but the comfort and ease with which it is delivered. From the bouncy Rise Up (with solid support from the Asheville Horns) to the soulful Movin' On to the African rhythms of One World to the beautiful and contemplative ballad Praise You, Reed proves deserving of the praise she is just now receiving.
But hey, Reed isn't the only person here. Deep Pocket is one solid band, good enough to be an integral part of the music and to toss the term "backing band" aside. Drummer Jim Bonk and bassist Ben Didelot lay as solid a rhythm as you might need on any of the eleven tracks here (for a laugh, log onto the band's website and click on "bio" for the humorous take on Bonk's name) and Ryan Burns is a fanatic about the Hammond organ he plays and plays so damn well (again, a simple click on Burns' bio on their website will illuminate). You want funk, they can play it. You want soul, it's there. And grooves? What's Going On glides along on the slow and funky groove of Bonk and Didelot so well, you'll swear you're reliving the early days of funk all over again.
Laura Reed & Deep Pocket have been playing the outer reaches of Asheville, North Carolina for a short time now and one can only imagine what the release of this album will do for them. To my ears, there is all too little real quality R&B and soul out there these days. These guys could very well be on their way up and out—out of the small venues they've called home since their inception. You miss out on this CD, you're missing out on some great music. You miss out on Laura Reed & Deep Pocket at the local pub and find out later how really good they are, it is my guess you'll be kicking your ass for years to come. But hey, it's just a guess, and chances are they will be playing a music fest somewhere nearby, sometime. Your call.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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