Creative Loafing Atlanta, July 12, 2006

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Creative Loafing Atlanta

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The River in Reverse

Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint

Mosi Reeves

★★★★

On The River in Reverse, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint make a protest record, but the prevailing tone is measured and wistful. Much like Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, it's a political declaration mostly sustained by past statements. In this case, it includes several outstanding songs from writer/pianist/producer Toussaint's career: "Freedom for the Stallion," covered by Three Dog Night and Lee Dorsey; and "Nearer to You," a hit for Betty Harris in 1967, among five others. The new songs, though unseasoned by time, are just as barbed. On "Broken Promise Land," Costello sings, "They only claim to be redeemed / They take that name and then blaspheme / It didn't turn out the way we planned / Now we're living in Broken Promise Land."

Costello is often (and sometimes rightly) accused for approaching music with too much calculated reverence. But this outlay of blues, pop and jazz — performed by Costello and Toussaint alongside Costello's esteemed backing band, the Imposters, and the Crescent City Horns — sounds right and rich, and bobs along with grace and purpose.

Costello and Toussaint play Chastain Park Amphitheatre Mon., July 17.

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Creative Loafing Atlanta, July 12, 2006


Mosi Reeves reviews The River In Reverse ahead of the concert, Monday, July 17, 2006, Chastain Park, Atlanta, GA.


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