London Guardian, June 2, 2006

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London Guardian

UK & Irish newspapers

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The River In Reverse

Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint

Mat Snow

Though New Orleans R&B traditionally has a wiggle in its walk, here its good humour is tempered by a smouldering sense of grievance, for obvious reasons. But first, a technical note: this album is best heard through audio equipment tweaked to suppress the excesses of Elvis Costello's strained bleat. Can't he hear that his singing is not what it was? Unadjusted, it's the elephant in the room of a very fine album, in which the genre-hopper teams up with veteran New Orleans songsmith, producer and pianist extraordinaire Allen Toussaint. Together they perform songs Toussaint penned for Lee Dorsey, Art Neville and Betty Harris, five new co-written numbers and one Costello original, The River in Reverse, which indicts the human disaster behind Hurricane Katrina's natural disaster with characteristically bitter wordplay. It's angry yet affectionate, insinuatingly melodic and solidly in that horn-marinated Big Easy groove. If only the Costello of 1980 was still around to sing it.

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The Guardian, June 2, 2006


Mat Snow reviews The River In Reverse.


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