Billboard, June 3, 2006

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Billboard , June 3 '06

The River in Reverse

ELVIS COSTELLO & ALLEN TOUSSAINT

Release Date: June 06, 2006

Producer(s): Joe Henry

Genre: POP

Label: Verve Forecast

Though Costello's band the Imposters are the entirely capable rhythm section (and Steve Nieve the standout second keyboardist), the dominant sound on "The River in Reverse" is the familiar sophisticated strut of Toussaint's elegant piano fillips and filigrees. There are five new Costello/Toussaint compositions here, seven wonderful, mostly obscure Toussaint tunes and Costello's artful, aching title song. Toussaint, who was unfamiliar with Costello before their meeting, may have arched an eyebrow at cleverly enigmatic lyrics like those to "Six-Fingered Man" ("playing a seven-string guitar"). Among the co-writes, "Ascension Day" is a smart minor key update of Professor Longhair's "Tipitina," while "International Echo" is a jazzy variation on the classic "Sea Cruise" bounce. Costello's vocal range is challenged like never before, but his phrasing is always on the money, and Joe Henry's production makes it all sound so natural. —Wayne Robins


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