Hot As A Pistol, Keen As A Blade

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Excerpt from press release.

"Hot as a Pistol, Keen as a Blade" (Hip-O/UMe), released December 5, 2006, captures that tour's scintillating concert in Montreal, Canada, spotlighting songs from the album as well as other Costello gems spanning four decades, from "Watching The Detectives" and "Pump It Up" to lesser-known songs, most of them given special arrangements by Toussaint.

Hot As A Pistol, Keen As A Blade
"Hot as a Pistol, Keen as a Blade" offers video evidence of a rare and special concert tour. Presented in 5.1 Surround Sound, the nearly two-hour-long DVD stars the same lineup as that on "The River In Reverse," combining Costello's band The Imposters with Toussaint's horn section (Amadee Castenell, Joe Smith, Sam Williams and Brian Cayolle) and guitarist (Anthony "AB" Brown). Bonuses include a performance of "Alison"; an in-studio performance of "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?," an excerpt from the film "Putting The River In Reverse" by Matthew Buzzell; an interview with Costello and Toussaint; a photo gallery; and a tour journal by Costello.

Along with performances of eight of that album's tracks, including "The River In Reverse," "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?" and "Broken Promise Land," "Hot as a Pistol, Keen as a Blade" features new Toussaint arrangements for previous Costello songs: "Clown Strike," "Tears Before Bedtime," "Poisoned Rose," "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea," "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Bedlam" and "Pump It Up."

The Crescent City Horns are also featured playing charts written by Vince Mendoza, Sy Johnson, Chris Walden and Elvis Costello on the songs, "Monkey To Man," "Episode Of Blonde," "Watching The Detectives," "Clubland" and the bonus feature cut, "Alison."

Toussaint takes the microphone for a number of his tunes not recorded for the album, including "A Certain Girl" and "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)." Toussaint's solo piano medley incorporates Earl King's "Big Chief," Professor Longhair's "Tipitina," his own song about "The Olde Professor" and the Toussaint-penned classic "Fortune Teller" with Elvis on vocals.



01. Monkey To Man
02. A Certain Girl
03. Clown Strike
04. Tears, Tears And More Tears
05. Tears Before Bedtime
06. Poisoned Rose
07. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
08. Broken Promise Land
09. Freedom For The Stallion
10. The River In Reverse
11. Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?
12. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
13. Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)
14. Bedlam
15. Watching The Detectives
16. Episode Of Blonde
17. Pump It Up
18. Yes We Can Can
19. Fortune Teller
20. Big Chief Medley: (Big Chief / Tipitina / The Olde Professor)
21. International Echo
22. Clubland
23. Six-Fingered Man
24. The Sharpest Thorn
Running time: 2:00:05

DVD extras


  • BUYER BEWARE!!!! I'm a huge Costello fan going back to the beginning. I own EVERYTHING! I have never posted Wikipedia before. The audio on this disc is the worst I have ever heard on a legitimate release by ANYONE! Heavily distorted! I had to take it off after 10 minutes and I am NOT an audiophile! I own bootlegs in all shapes. At least with a bootleg, you know not to expect anything. But this disc needs to be recalled immediately. Through my television, through my stereo, it sounds like garbage. I have played a number of discs tonight to make sure it's not my system and it is not. - Otisball

  • Well, I am going to have to differ with the previous comment regarding the sound quality of this DVD. I found the audio better than average -- and much better than his previous live DVD (the High Tone Cafe). The 5.1 mix provides great depth and separation, but so does the stereo mix. Of course this is a loud performance -- almost 10 musicians are on stage!

What I think makes this a valuable performance are the arrangements of both "The River In Reverse" songs and EC originals, including Episode Of Blond, Bedlam, Clubland, Tears Before Bedtime, and Alison (a bonus track). Clubland starts of with a feeling similar to the original "Trust" version, and then midway veers into a vampy, jazz piece, then to a bossa nova (I think), only to circle back around to where it started. The rarely-played-live Tears Before Bedtime also gets a fabulous sonic expansion.

One of the things that makes EC a great musician, composer, and arranger is his intimate knowledge of a vast array of musical styles and genres. The performance captured on this DVD showcases just about all of them, I suspect. Definitely worth having (or at least renting via netflix). - Trey

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