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The River In Reverse (Digital Version)

Allen Toussaint & Elvis Costello

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Their working relationship stretches back more than two decades, but Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello became newly acquainted while playing at benefit concerts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Toussaint, a highly regarded arranger, producer, and pianist from New Orleans, and the eclectic and prolific Costello bring the emotion of experience to this recording, creating a mix of songs that reflect equal measures of joy, grief, anger, and redemption. Toussaint and Costello wrote five new songs together for the album, all of which mesh naturally with the tracks pulled from Toussaint’s legendary catalog, including several of his R&B hits from the 60s and 70s. Costello sings lead on all of the songs, with the exception of “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further?” on which Toussaint performs a silky lead. The two are joined by Costello’s band the Imposters and Toussaint’s horn section, the Crescent City Horns, along with his guitarist Anthony Brown, and the marriage makes for a supremely talented collective capable of delivering swampy funk, gritty soul, and mournful ballads. It’s a pleasure to hear how well these two distinct bands—and bandleaders—intertwine and artfully bring their own sensibilities to the project despite their different styles, making The River in Reverse both a strong musical collaboration and a labor of love.

Customer Reviews

authentic, soulful, sad, awesome

this post-katrina New Orleans project is the most poignant and touching of them all, simultaneously fun and joyous while sad & painful this album of both insider and outside viewpoints to the new orleans experience works so well . . . . allen toussaint is long overdue for mega recognition - i dare you to read his bio without saying "he did that?" more than once . . its crazy what he's done. Elvis sounds better vocally than he has for many many yeras. . . . there is a reason the critics are praising this album - it is really really good . . . .

Costello at his solid, less adventurous self

The highlight of this album is Where Is The is Toussaint and Costello stripped down. This song just feels right for this collaboration....Toussaint's slow, bluesy piano, and Costello's tightly controlled voice. The song is excellent. Much of the rest of the album features some common Costello fare....the rocking On Your Way Down (reminds me of songs from Brutal Youth and King of America) and even River in Reverse has the feel of Costello and the Dirty Dozen Brass band on Spike. The point here is that Costello, one of the most prolific songwriters in Rock, is on his game and stays true to his roots as Toussaint does to his. While I found nothing on this album that will 'Wow" you, this is a solid piece of work from two very experienced artists. It is always great to hear Costello singing in a simple, stripped-down setting and that is what makes this album worth the purchase price.

Gumbo Thick

This is a fantastic album. It rocks like a Lousiana night. At once hot and sweaty and cool as an O'Brian's Hurricane. Elvis is great voice and Toussaint' piano is the perfect foil. The Crescent City Horns move the music through sultry funk into a grooven' second line. This album will be a barbecue background track and a road trip staple. Excellent.


Born: January 14, 1938 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, solo artist — Allen Toussaint has worn all these hats over the course of his lengthy and prolific career, and his behind-the-scenes work alone would have been enough to make him a legend of New Orleans R&B. Thanks to his work with numerous other artists, Toussaint bore an enormous amount of responsibility for the sound of R&B in the Crescent City from the '60s on into the '70s. His productions kept with the times, moving from rollicking,...
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