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When Eli “Paperboy” Reed winds up and croons the deliciously cheesy lyrics of “(Doin’ the) Boom Boom,” the doughy Bostonian in the guayabera becomes Sam Cooke. The unlikely soul phenom grew up in Brookline, Mass., busking in Harvard Square. After graduating high school, Reed split for Clarksdale, Miss., where he worked clubs and acquired a Southern accent. Veteran blues drummer Sam Carr took the newbie under his wing, furthering the education that began with his father’s record collection. At the behest of his parents, Reed eventually returned north to take a crack at college. But when school didn’t work out, Reed assembled the True Loves, self-released his 2005 debut, Sings “Walkin’ and Talkin’ (For My Baby) and Other Smash Hits, and never looked back. On last year’s Roll With You, Reed has no intentions of experimenting with or deviating from those tried-and-true blues riffs and soul shouts he’s studied so intently. Live, Reed fills things out with a horn section and upright bass, and during his last D.C. performance, there were enough suits dancing to suggest Reed’s self-schooling is paying off. ELI “PAPERBOY” REED & THE TRUE LOVES PERFORM FRIDAY AT 9:30 P.M. AT THE ROCK AND ROLL HOTEL, 1353 H ST. NE. $17. (202) 388-7625.