Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 2006
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
The River in Reverse
(Verve Forecast ***1/2)
It's tiring just trying to keep up with everything Elvis Costello's up to - imagine how exhausting it must be to be him. Of all the bespectacled Brit's various and sundry projects, however, The River in Reverse is one worth homing in on. It pools the resources of the prolific songwriter with the great Allen Toussaint, elegant New Orleans songwriter, piano man and producer, author of "Workin' in a Coal Mine," among many others. Recorded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and produced by Joe Henry, it's made up of six new songs and seven lesser-known Toussaint gems. The elder songsmith's compositions such as "Tears, Tears and More Tears" and "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" sound freshly relevant, and new Costello lyrics like those to the title cut and "Broken Promise Land" are fittingly soulful and indignant. A mutually beneficial collaboration, if there ever was one.
- Dan DeLuca