Some inspired music has arrived in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (mainly on New Orleans-themed benefit albums), but nothing as audaciously ambitious as this cross-generational collaboration between Crescent City mainstay Allen Toussaint and former British upstart turned adventurously eclectic veteran Elvis Costello. As a songwriter, producer, and arranger, Toussaint has been responsible for hits from artists ranging from Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, and Lee Dorsey to the Pointer Sisters and Labelle. Costello, long a huge fan of Toussaint's music, sings relatively familiar fare such as "On Your Way Down" and "Freedom for the Stallion" from Toussaint's extensive songbook along with obscurities mainly recorded by Dorsey. Toussaint supplies his distinctive piano and horn arrangements--as well as lead vocals on "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?"--with Costello's Imposters serving as the rhythm section. Yet the real revelation comes from the new material, including the title track (a searing Costello composition in the Toussaint soul-spiritual mode) and five new Costello/Toussaint compositions that spotlight Toussaint's signature sound without diminishing Costello's creative contributions. What could have been a curiosity is instead a hallmark in the catalog of each artist. --Don McLeese
A landmark recording! Recorded in both LA and New Orleans, this marks the first major session in the Crescent City since Hurricane Katrina The River in Reverse contains inspired versions of Toussaint classics, and brilliant new collaborations by these legendary songwriters. Includes a bonus DVD (Limited edition - initial run only) Putting the River in Reverse, a 30-minute making of documentary by filmmaker Matthew Buzzell, has already been accepted to several prominent film festivals including the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.