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The River In Reverse by Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint

British born icon Patrick MacManus as well known as Elvis Costello and his folk tale peer from New Orleans, Allen Toussaint, are kicking hit parades with The River In Reverse.

Both men are euphonious legends and have long held the attention of the entourage of pop and R&B music, being considered two among the finest vocalists in the world. Needless to say, Costello & Toussaint are seminal figures in musical history now releasing an album dedicated to the renaissance of New Orleans.

Bitterness, frankness and dark words are detected in some tracks: "On Your Way Down," "Broken Promise Land," "The River In Reverse"... but it’s good to be able to revolt when your heart and soul requires to. Everybody knows that Katrina’s disaster was predicted. But how many lives could have been saved instead of being sacrificed to death? Who thought about the possibility to lose someone while ignoring to saving other lives? Costello & Toussaint designed in this album a kind of idea that to live is sufficient danger. Thus, what should be accepted, rather than to flee; this is why The River In Reverse rhymes with willingness. There’s nothing erroneous on this album’s songs even if it’s playing unvaryingly smears on the world, on us humans and on beingness.

The River In Reverse’s songs were performed at a benefit concert and is the first one to be recorded in New Orleans since Katrina’s passage also featuring Costello with the Impostors, Anthony Brown and The Crescent City Horns.

The album battalion’s zealous, alluvial, plain soul Delta is flooded with the shadows from the birth place of jazz. But it also conveys a great message of gaiety and expectancy. Toussaint’s piano weds perfectly with Costello’s inspiration--making us believe that this is not the first time both men have joined forces in music--.

Indeed, "Near To you", "Teas, Tears and More Tears", "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?", "Freedom For The Stallion", "All These Things" and "Wonder Woman" are Toussaint contributions to this release. Toussaint is a fine contemporary song-writing talent and his baritone vocal input makes this album a wonderful project.

The River In Reverse’s music also grooves through all the 13 tracks. The Crescent City Horns, (Williams, Cayolle, Castanelli and Smith) play with clear composure and ornate precision. Costello and Toussaint together composed "The Sharpest Thorn"--one of the best songs on the album--, "Broken Promise Land", "International Echo" and "Six-fingered Man". Yet .... to all of this material Elvis Costello brings his own unique Briton/Irish combination of the intangible and the crude. The River In Reverse is a meritorious release that holds up a disquietude germinated by its purpose.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint
  • CD Title: The River In Reverse
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Verve Forecast
  • Rating: Five Stars
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