The River In Reverse (song)

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How long does a promise last?
How long can a lie be told?
What would I take in exchange for my soul?
Would I notice when it was sold?

Wake me up
Wake me up
Wake me up with a slap or a kiss
There must be something better than this
'Cos I don't see how it can get much worse
What do we have to do to send
The river in reverse

Every man a crawling kingsnake
Every girl a half a heartbreak
Every woman sold into shame
To any son without a name

Are your arms too weak to lift?
Another shovel on the graveyard shift
Here comes the flood if you catch my drift
Where the things that they promised are not a gift

If man falls through the mirror of a lake
They fish him out quick and they call him a fake
Give him all the temptations he can take
Tie him up high 'til his bones break

Wake me up
Wake me up
Wake me up with a slap or a kiss
There must be something better than this
'Cos I don't see how it can get much worse
What do we have to do to send
The river in reverse

I thought I heard somebody laugh
Look out your window
They're chasing shadows in the dark
They're counting widows

I felt a sliver of glass
Saw a cross in splinters
I felt the truce of spring
Dig me out of the trench of winter

So count your blessings when they ask permission
To govern with money and superstition
They tell you it's all for your own protection
'Til you fear your own reflection
But the times are passing from illumination
Like bodies falling from a constellation
An uncivil war divides the nation
So erase the tape on that final ape running down creation
Running down creation

Wake me up
Wake me up
Wake me up with a slap or a kiss
There must be something better than this
Wake me up
Wake me up with a slap or a kiss
There must be something better than this

The River In Reverse
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
(featuring The Imposters & The Crescent City Horns)
Produced byJoe Henry
Horn arrangementAllen Toussaint
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, Gibson J-50 guitar
Allen Toussaint - Wurlitzer electric piano, intro/outro piano
Steve Nieve - Farfisa organ, distant piano
Davey Faragher - bass, backing vocals
Pete Thomas - drums
Brian "Breeze" Cayolle - baritone saxophone
Amadee Castenell - tenor saxophone
Joe "Foxx" Smith - trumpet
Sam "Big Sam" Williams - trombone
RecordedNovember 27 - December 10, 2005, Sunset Sound, Hollywood, and/or Piety Street Recorders, New Orleans
ReleasedMay 27, 2006
AlbumsThe River In Reverse, 2006
Various Artists collectionsYour Guide To The North Sea Jazz Festival 2007, 2007
Length4:32

First known performance:
September 24, 2005, New York, NY
Last known performance:
October 3, 2016, Cedar Rapids, IA
     (162 known performances, 1 as a snippet)


Alternate versions

The River In Reverse (Live 2006)
Performed byElvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
featuring The Imposters, Anthony "AB" Brown & The Crescent City Horns
Horn arrangementAllen Toussaint
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Allen Toussaint - piano
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Davey Faragher - bass, backing vocal
Pete Thomas - drums
Anthony "AB" Brown - guitar
Brian "Breeze" Cayolle - saxophone, backing vocal
Amadee Castenell - saxophone, backing vocal
Joe "Foxx" Smith - trumpet, backing vocal
Sam "Big Sam" Williams - trombone, backing vocal
RecordedJuly 3, 2006, Montreal, QC, Canada
ReleasedDecember 5, 2006
VideosHot As A Pistol, Keen As A Blade, 2006

The River In Reverse (iTunes Originals Version)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
RecordedMarch 2007, Vancouver
ReleasedJune 19, 2007
DownloadsiTunes Originals, 2007
Length4:30


The River In Reverse2006 The River In Reverse Album small.jpg

Hot As A Pistol, Keen As A BladeHot As A Pistol Keen As A Blade DVD cover.jpg

ITunes OriginalsITunes Originals.jpg

Covers

no known covers

Internal links

External links