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The River In Reverse [CD/DVD Combo] [CD+DVD]

Elvis CostelloAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2006 $10.49  
Audio CD, 2006 $13.68  
Audio CD, CD+DVD, 2006 $15.24  

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The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook


Declan MacManus is known as one of the most idiosyncratic new wave performers, under his alias Elvis Costello. The UK-born singer-songwriter had a string of Top 30 chart hits in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s, though his work throughout his career has always gathered critical respect.

Although he was initially marketed as a punk, his music originally seemed to sound more like ... Read more in Amazon's Elvis Costello Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The River In Reverse [CD/DVD Combo] + The Bright Mississippi + Songbook
Price for all three: $44.93

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  • The Bright Mississippi $15.59
  • Songbook $14.10

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 6, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Label: Verve Forecast
  • ASIN: B000FBH476
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,153 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. On Your Way Down
2. Nearer To You
3. Tears, Tears And More Tears
4. The Sharpest Thorn
5. Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?
6. The River In Reverse
7. Freedom Of The Stallion
8. Broken Promise Land
9. Ascension Day
10. International Echo
11. All These Things
12. Wonder Woman
13. Six-Fingered Man

Editorial Reviews

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

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A monumental effort for a monumental city. June 7, 2006
Format:Audio CD
When the Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint collaboration was announced I was a bit skeptical at first. Costello's output has been very unpredictable in recent years. Toussaint's latest collaboration with John Henry was endearing but by no means very special. I felt this could become an amusing record at best. Both gentlemen prove me wrong on this outing.

The idea for record probably started after the flood of New Orleans. In the accompanying DVD Costello explains it was initially intended as a Toussaint songbook effort. While working on the project it evolved into more than that. Some five songs here are new collaborations between Costello and Toussaint. What immediately strikes you is how well these two gentlemen complement each other. Elvis' somewhat nasal and sandy voice is balanced out by the ever friendly and gentle backing vocals of Allen, the gruff instrumentations of the Attractions complemented by Toussaint's own Funky horn section and elegant piano playing.

Thematically the album approaches that of a protest album. Costello still proves to be the angry young man he was at the start of his career, albeit not so young anymore. Toussaint classics as "On Your Way Down" and "Who's Gonna Help A Brother Get Further" are complemented with the new "River in Reverse", a beautiful snarling track filled with horror about what occurred in the Crescent City. The album is filled out with some beautiful love songs from the Toussaint catalog that function as a counter to the political material and bring balance to the record. Elvis delivers al these songs with a passion and conviction you haven't heard from him in years. The album is an emotional rollercoaster, it makes you want to laugh, dance, sing, cry and scream, all in the course of an hour.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant: An absolute triumph! June 8, 2006
By Yossi
Format:Audio CD
All I can say is that this record has exceeded my expectations. Mind you, I was just a bit nervous: what??! nervous with two such monumental talents teaming up? Let me explain. A huge fan of EC, I am however no big fan of The Delivery Man, Costello's last effort. Despite some great musicianship and some fine songs, I felt that Elvis was sometimes flagrantly oversinging and over-emoting on The Delivery Man. And here's the thing: when Elvis doesn't TRY to be passionate, he IS an awesomely passionate and powerful vocalist period. On Deliver May,though, in my opinion (and there may be those who differ), he was just trying too hard to SQUEEZE out the passion and pain from those oh-so-tortured Southern songs. But here: maybe it's the presence of the great Allan Toussaint (there's noone cooler), a master himself of understated vocals, or the fine producer, Joe Henry, but whatever it is: EC is not oversinging like on Delivery Man. He is just singing: deep, dark, truthful, soulful, powerful, searing, smoking...I could go on and on, but I won't. This is a terrific record, both men get enormous kudos...the songs, the arrangements, the lyrics (haunting and apocalyptic images of walls tumbling, and such, throughout). It is a wonderful triumph of musicianship, vision and artistry, worthy of the two great artists who have produced it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Every man a crawling kingsnake..." December 31, 2006
Format:Audio CD
The most searing of musical indictments during 2006 didn't come from some young buck MC or a snorting enraged punk band. It came from a pair of wizened musical vets. Elvis Costello teamed up with Allen Toussaint and dropped this amazing 13 song collaboration that both celebrates the spirit of New Orleans' music makers at the same time it ravages those that willingly stood off and averted their eyes. "Ascension Day" is this album's centerpiece, mournfully delivering the lyric "40 days passed by, 40 alibis" with the clarity of his best work. "The River In Reverse" takes on this dichotomy and doesn't flinch. The angry young man of old finally gets to harness his vitriol to a new cause, and Toussaint gives Costello a whole new batch of colors to work with.

Oddly enough, it is the catalog numbers from Toussaint that really bring out the soul to "The River In Reverse." Versions of "Tears and More Tears," "Freedom for the Stallion" and "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" (with the lead sung by Toussaint) make their emotional mark to the time, even despite their age. Toussaint's arrangements (often not varying much from their older recordings) also draw out some of Costello's better vocal skills. He sounds more soulful here than on his "My Flame Burns Blue" CD, released with the same year as "The River In Reverse."

Toussaint also managed most of the production duties on "The River In Reverse," and it is to the CD's benefit. Neither as creamy smooth as "North," disjointed like "When I Was Cruel," or as raw and rugged and "The Delivery Man," the music here strikes the perfect balance. It is Costello's best sounding disc since "Painted From Memory" with Burt Bacharach. (Oddly enough, also a collaboration with one of Costello's idols.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This collaboration is totally AMAZING.....soulful...meaningful- probably on a personal as well as on a more alturistic/socially relevant level..and finally, very sexy. I've been a fan of Elvis since the late 70's...GOD am I that old?? He has always inspired and made me think beyond the borders. Now I am a fan of Mr. Toussaint's as well. The CD starts off wonderful and keep giving more and more. Even when you think you have already heard the best it can possibly offer, it then crescendos and ROCKS you with SIX FINGERED MAN..! It's really hard to pick a favorite on this one. FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION will make you stop in your tracks and THINK. It's is one of those basic...true...important pieces that make you take notice. THE SHARPEST THORN is extremely melancholy, and personal. BROKEN PROMISE LAND, THE RIVER IN REVERSE, ASCENSION DAY, and INTERNATIONAL ECHO (Love that one!!) have Elvis' print all over it...and can ONLY be made even better and just absolutely perfect with Mr. Toussaint's contribution. Mr. Toussaint's ALL THESE THINGS is totally amazing!!! Very true and just damn sexy. WONDER WOMAN will make you smile and just want to get up and dance. Just give yourself a gift this new year....and treat yourself to this CD. You will not be disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much Elvis
Too much Elvis Costello, not enough Toussaint.
If you've heard Hugh Laurie's "Let them Talk" - St. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kenneth G Ripberger
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring!!!!!
Sorry but this one just didn't do anything for me. The very first song set the tone for an tidal wave of insipid music. Not my cup of coffee, I guess...
Published on March 9, 2012 by Orlando L. Villanueva
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best!
Great album and definitely in the top 5 Elvis albums ever! The Allen Toussaint collaboration works. Mr. Read more
Published on January 26, 2012 by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD, Questionable source
I love this CD, it is a new favorite.
HOWEVER, it has a Public Library sticker on it. Was this CD stolen? I am going to Google the library and contact them to make sure.
Published on October 25, 2010 by Ginger
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyman a crawling kingsnake
The most searing of musical indictments during 2006 didn't come from some young buck MC or a snorting enraged punk band. It came from a pair of wizened musical vets. Read more
Published on February 4, 2009 by Tim Brough
5.0 out of 5 stars Repeated listenings
Here is a collection of songs that need to be heard over and over again.
Elvis' voice is at its finest and the music is perfect for his voice. Read more
Published on October 4, 2008 by Writer18
2.0 out of 5 stars Little White Elvis
This recording unfortunately highlights Elvis' limitations as a singer. Allen toussaint is a tough act to keep up with, and although Costello tries hard, he just ends up sounding... Read more
Published on September 22, 2008 by smilingbassist
1.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing experience
The River in Reverse
I bought this album without listening it up front. It was a major dispointment when I heard the first song. I thought that my amplifier was broke. Read more
Published on August 8, 2008 by JHM Van Der Meer
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting pairing, but it's just not what it could have been.
An interesting labor of love, THE RIVER IN REVERSE turns out to be a solid collaboration of styles without any significant surprises. Read more
Published on March 7, 2008 by J. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joyful Rage
This tribute to New Orleans and the work of Allen Toussaint in the aftermath of Katrina is powerful and uplifting. Read more
Published on June 23, 2007 by EddieLove
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