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The Other Elvis

If any good can be said to have come of what Elvis Costello refers to here as "a fearsome chain of events started out by a mean-tempered woman called Katrina and ably assisted by some nincompoops and incompetents," you could start with Costello's rekindled relationship with American R&B royalty Allen Toussaint. The 24-song concert DVD Hot As a Pistol, Keen As a Blade (Hip-O Records) effortlessly picks up where The River in Reverse, their first collaboration since Toussaint sat in on "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," left off earlier this year. They dig a good deal deeper than that album's wealth of highlights, though, revisiting a number of Costello's early classics, "Pump It Up" included, in exciting new arrangements charted by Toussaint and brought to life here by the Crescent City Horns, New Orleans guitar hero Anthony Brown, and Costello's Impostors. As Costello tells the crowd, he'd hoped Toussaint could "bring a brand-new coat of paint" to a few of his songs. And that's exactly what he's done here, in addition to reviving several classics from his own back catalogue, including "Yes We Can Can" and the beat group staple "Fortune Teller."
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Ed Masley

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