Track Review: Elvis Costello and the Roots, “Walk Us Uptown”

elvis costello roots questlove
Elvis Costello and The Roots
“Walk Us Uptown”
(Blue Note)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Elvis Costello is no stranger to soul music. On his fourth album, 1980’s Get Happy!!, Costello and The Attractions recorded a full-length tribute to the Stax sound of the ‘60s. In 2002, he contributed a song to Solomon Burke’s Give Up On Me, and four years later, collaborated with New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint on The River In Reverse. But “Walk Us Uptown,” the first single from Costello’s full-length collaboration with The Roots, is possibly the funkiest thing he’s released to date. It helps that The Roots never leave the pocket; with two decades of releasing consistently amazing hip-hop records, The Roots have ascended to one of the tightest bands since the J.B.’s, and they more than live up to their reputation here. Questlove’s solid beats back a meaty, trippy excursion into dirty, psychedelic soul, with some nasty sounding organs and some truly powerful horns. While few bands can match the original lineup of The Attractions for simply kicking ass, Costello’s found his new match in The Roots.