Record Collector, July 2006

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Record Collector

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The River In Reverse

Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint

Terry Staunton

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Two greats at the top of their game

Restless Elvis plays closer to home on on this latest "hobby" project. The deep soul strut evident makes it almost a companion piece to 2004's magnificent The Delivery Man, but with a bona fide R&B legend muscling in on the action.

Having collaborated twice in the past, plans for this joint album were hatched at a Hurricane Katrina benefit in New York last year; half new co-writes and half cherry-picked from Toussaint's archives of prior New Orleans gems, fashioned, like The Delivery Man, virtually live in the studio with The Imposters in the southern US.

Best of the 'oldies' are a delicate reading of Art Neville's "All These Things" and Toussaint himself on lead vocals for a souped-up groove through "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?," first recorded by Lee Dorsey in 1970. Many of the new songs recreate the spirit of the past, while boasting an ambiguity where they could be read either as paeans to fictional lost love or factual lost hope, subtly addressing the aftermath of Katrina without recourse to in-yer-face sloganeering.

Toussaint's signature piano is well evident throughout (Imposter Steve Nieve switching to Hammond organ), but ultimately it's Costello's album, and one of his best. Still a collaborative effort, though, and probably more palatable to some ears than excursions with chamber quartets, jazz orchestras or easy listening gurus.

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Record Collector, No. 325, July 2006


Terry Staunton reviews the The River In Reverse.


James Masterson reviews the A.I.M.S. Gala DVD.

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The AIMS Gala

At The Royal Albert Hall

James Masterson

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Bill Wyman and friends pulling in fresh blood

AIMS (Ambitions, Ideas, Motivation, Success) was organised by Bill Wyman in 1988 to benefit young aspiring musicians, and this concert was a commendable attempt to encourage such new bands. Those who won this competition were very much of their time. Clothes and haircuts haven't aged well, nor have the aspiring musicians' tunes. 1988 was the height of yuppiedom, mullets, big suits and clinically cosmetic tracks. However, when the established artists take the stage there is a noticeable increase in quality. Chrissie Hynde and Elvis Costello give us a Rock School version of The Collins Kids, with solid versions of, among others, "Windows Of The World" and "Days," and even threatening to break into "Respectable," Mel & Kim's hit of the time.

Chris Rea is, as always, sombre and reflective, putting in a consistently professional performance. The highlight of the show are classic tracks performed by legendary artists, creating a small piece of musical history: Bill Wyman, Phil Collins, Ronnie Wood, and Ian Dury gel on tracks such as Lucille and Tallahassee Lassie. Even the two newcomers, Chris Rea and Terence Trent D'Arby (both of whom had only really found major success the year before), hold their own. Of course, with two Stones on stage, the show concludes with "It's All Over Now" and "Honky Tonk Women."



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