Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie
Let Them Talk

Warner Brothers - B0055V6EZE

By Ms. Marci
March 2012

The name Hugh Laurie may be familiar to some of you from the TV medical series, "House." If you've seen the show even a few times, you've noticed that he plays the guitar and piano, and quite well, too! What you may not have known (I certainly didn't), was the fact that he loves the blues, more specifically New Orleans style blues. Let Them Talk features collaborations with NOLA legends Irma Thomas and Dr. John. Allen Toussaint, this discs’ producer, musician and songwriter, also a NOLA musical fixture, contributes horn arrangements throughout.

Laurie very humbly states in the liner notes (paraphrasing) that he has not had any of the experiences in his life that the originators of this genre have had. He just loves the blues and hopes that he does it justice. Let me tell you, he does just that! There are fifteen tracks of carefully chosen covers on this well executed CD. This recording starts out with Hugh playing a very plaintive intro to "St. James Infirmary" on piano, a fitting opening; then he is joined by a complementary group of musicians that ebb and flow into the body of the song. He comes in singing with confidence and ends the song with the piano standing alone.

The tempo picks up with "You Don't Know My Mind" which confirms that he wishes to take you down to NOLA with feeling. The rhythm of this recording continues to undulate with varying tempos and themes. The traditional gospel tune, "Battle Of Jericho," has shades of old Dr. John's early recordings, a la, "Dr. John, The Night Tripper." Dr. John himself follows with a croon of "After You've Gone." Laurie puts an unusual spin on "Swanee River" with some "boogie-woogie" piano and his unique melody styling. Hugh Laurie’s and Irma Thomas' duet on "John Henry" shines!

Laurie continues his salute to the blues as an art form and life culture with Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot." I think Mr. Johnson would have approved! This version has the enthusiasm and playfulness of the original with just a little spit shine. The song "Baby, Please Make A Change" has a real surprise guest appearance with lead vocals by Sir Tom Jones. (Yup, the same Tom Jones that had women swooning over him, throwing their undies at him onstage!) The last song is the title track, "Let Them Talk," which begins, as this disc does, with Laurie on vocals and piano. Though I wasn't thrilled with his phrasing in the lyrics, this song still has its own special charm. It builds to a crescendo, then melts like bitter-sweet chocolate in your mouth! You won't be sorry if you invest in this disc. Worth the listen and the money!

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