Search - Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint :: The River in Reverse

The River in Reverse
Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint
The River in Reverse
Genres: Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop, R&B, Rock
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

The River in Reverse is Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint's spirited and deeply soulful new album, including seven songs from Toussaint's remarkable catalog; five newly written by the two; and one new song, the title trac...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint
Title: The River in Reverse
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Verve Forecast
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 6/6/2006
Genres: Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop, R&B, Rock
Styles: Regional Blues, New Orleans Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Blues, Europe, British Isles, Singer-Songwriters, Adult Alternative, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 602498560570


Album Description
The River in Reverse is Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint's spirited and deeply soulful new album, including seven songs from Toussaint's remarkable catalog; five newly written by the two; and one new song, the title track, written by Costello. Sessions for the album took place over a whirlwind two weeks late last year in Hollywood, CA and at Piety Street Studios in Toussaint's hometown of New Orleans. Produced by Joe Henry, the album masterfully combines Costello's band the Imposters with Toussaint's horn section (Amadee Castenell, Joe Smith, Sam Williams, and Brian Cayolle) and guitarist (Anthony Brown).Toussaint led the ensemble from the piano, with Imposters keyboard player Steve Nieve switching to Hammond B3. The majority of the tracks were cut with the entire group in the room and Costello singing live, occasionally adding his guitar to the mix. Costello selected songs from deep within the Toussaint catalogue such as "Nearer To You," "Freedom for the Stallion," and "Tears, Tears and More Tears." Toussaint kicks off the lead vocal on his composition, "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?" and trades vocal lines with Costello and bassist Davey Faragher on several other tracks.All of the horn arrangements are marked with Toussaint's distinctive style and, commented Costello, "add a second voice" to the title track, the one song that Costello wrote alone. Just before the recording began, the duo holed up in New York to write together throughout October, a quick-moving process that resulted in four songs on the album of various combinations of words and music.The songwriting collaboration began with Costello writing lyrics for Toussaint's beautiful minor key variation of Professor Longhair's "Tipitina." The resulting piece is now entitled "Ascension Day." Other new titles include "The Sharpest Thorn," "Broken Promise Land," and "International Echo."Toussaint previously produced a 1983 Costello cover of Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice" with the Attractions and the T.K.O. Horns, and also contributed piano to the New Orleans-recorded "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" from Costello's 1989 album Spike.Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Toussaint relocated to New York City, where the two renewed their musical friendship at several benefit concerts and club gigs during a seven-day period from the 17th of September, leading to discussions of this new album. The powerful song "The River in Reverse" was written by Costello on September 24th, 2005, and performed by him for the first time at that night's "Parting the Waters" benefit event organized by the The New Yorker magazine. More Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint

King of America
Elvis Costello
Imperial Bedroom
Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Painted from Memory
Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach
The Wild Sound of New Orleans: The Complete 'Tousan' Sessions
Allen Toussaint
Finger Poppin' and Stompin' Feet: 20 Classic Allen Toussaint Productions for Minit Records 1960-1962
Various Artists
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CD Reviews

Brilliant: An absolute triumph!
Yossi | Silver Spring, MD | 06/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All I can say is that this record has exceeded my expectations. Mind you, I was just a bit nervous: what??! nervous with two such monumental talents teaming up? Let me explain. A huge fan of EC, I am however no big fan of The Delivery Man, Costello's last effort. Despite some great musicianship and some fine songs, I felt that Elvis was sometimes flagrantly oversinging and over-emoting on The Delivery Man. And here's the thing: when Elvis doesn't TRY to be passionate, he IS an awesomely passionate and powerful vocalist period. On Deliver May,though, in my opinion (and there may be those who differ), he was just trying too hard to SQUEEZE out the passion and pain from those oh-so-tortured Southern songs. But here: maybe it's the presence of the great Allan Toussaint (there's noone cooler), a master himself of understated vocals, or the fine producer, Joe Henry, but whatever it is: EC is not oversinging like on Delivery Man. He is just singing: deep, dark, truthful, soulful, powerful, searing, smoking...I could go on and on, but I won't. This is a terrific record, both men get enormous kudos...the songs, the arrangements, the lyrics (haunting and apocalyptic images of walls tumbling, and such, throughout). It is a wonderful triumph of musicianship, vision and artistry, worthy of the two great artists who have produced it."
Elvis Costello and Allen doesn't get much bet
M. F. Small | Buffalo, NY | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This collaboration is totally AMAZING.....soulful...meaningful- probably on a personal as well as on a more alturistic/socially relevant level..and finally, very sexy. I've been a fan of Elvis since the late 70's...GOD am I that old?? He has always inspired and made me think beyond the borders. Now I am a fan of Mr. Toussaint's as well. The CD starts off wonderful and keep giving more and more. Even when you think you have already heard the best it can possibly offer, it then crescendos and ROCKS you with SIX FINGERED MAN..! It's really hard to pick a favorite on this one. FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION will make you stop in your tracks and THINK. It's is one of those basic...true...important pieces that make you take notice. THE SHARPEST THORN is extremely melancholy, and personal. BROKEN PROMISE LAND, THE RIVER IN REVERSE, ASCENSION DAY, and INTERNATIONAL ECHO (Love that one!!) have Elvis' print all over it...and can ONLY be made even better and just absolutely perfect with Mr. Toussaint's contribution. Mr. Toussaint's ALL THESE THINGS is totally amazing!!! Very true and just damn sexy. WONDER WOMAN will make you smile and just want to get up and dance. Just give yourself a gift this new year....and treat yourself to this CD. You will not be disappointed."
"Every man a crawling kingsnake..."
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 01/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The most searing of musical indictments during 2006 didn't come from some young buck MC or a snorting enraged punk band. It came from a pair of wizened musical vets. Elvis Costello teamed up with Allen Toussaint and dropped this amazing 13 song collaboration that both celebrates the spirit of New Orleans' music makers at the same time it ravages those that willingly stood off and averted their eyes. "Ascension Day" is this album's centerpiece, mournfully delivering the lyric "40 days passed by, 40 alibis" with the clarity of his best work. "The River In Reverse" takes on this dichotomy and doesn't flinch. The angry young man of old finally gets to harness his vitriol to a new cause, and Toussaint gives Costello a whole new batch of colors to work with.

Oddly enough, it is the catalog numbers from Toussaint that really bring out the soul to "The River In Reverse." Versions of "Tears and More Tears," "Freedom for the Stallion" and "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" (with the lead sung by Toussaint) make their emotional mark to the time, even despite their age. Toussaint's arrangements (often not varying much from their older recordings) also draw out some of Costello's better vocal skills. He sounds more soulful here than on his "My Flame Burns Blue" CD, released with the same year as "The River In Reverse."

Toussaint also managed most of the production duties on "The River In Reverse," and it is to the CD's benefit. Neither as creamy smooth as "North," disjointed like "When I Was Cruel," or as raw and rugged and "The Delivery Man," the music here strikes the perfect balance. It is Costello's best sounding disc since "Painted From Memory" with Burt Bacharach. (Oddly enough, also a collaboration with one of Costello's idols.)

But it is this CD's title track that will draw the most attention. A bitter diatribe that rivals Costello's "Shipbuilding" or "Peace In Our Time," it takes on the intentional methods of divisiveness that the authorities attempted to use when shielding their own inadequacies. (Think "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.") "An Uncivil war divides the nation," Costello notes in the song's final verse. It's his best song in ages, frankly. And it adds to the multitude of riches that Costello and Toussaint pour into "The River In Reverse.""