Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk *Updated 7/12/2011*

Hugh Laurie.  OBE.  Actor, writer, musician, director, motorcycle buff, and now the highest paid actor in a US TV drama.  Oh, and he rowed for Cambridge in the 1980 Boat Race.  They came second by just five feet.

Laurie was born in Oxford just the wrong side of fifty years ago.  His TV work started in the very early 80s, alongside Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane and Tony Slattery.  Musically, he appeared in videos for Kate Bush’s ‘Experiment IV’ and Annie Lennox’s ‘Walking on Broken Glass’.

His love of music started age 6 when he began piano lessons.  He is also accomplished at playing the guitar, drums, saxophone, harmonica and, as Stephen Fry noted in his first autobiography, Moab is my Washpot, “any musical instrument you throw at him, the son of a son of a son of a son of a son of a bitch.”

And so to ‘Let Them Talk’.  The LP reached Number Two in the UK Album Chart in May 2011, not long after its release.  It peaked at the top of the Argentinian and Austrian charts!  The fifteen tracks (18 on the special edition) feature such artists as Tom Jones, Dr. John and Irma Thomas.

The album consists of classic blues songs, previously recorded by the likes of Lou Rawls, Louis Armstrong, Georgia White, Count Basie, Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton among others.  As well as providing the vocals, Hugh plays piano and guitar.  The LP was produced by Joe Henry, and features Kevin Breit on guitar and Vincent Henry on sax.  Horns were arranged by Allen Toussaint.

No.

Title

Length

1.

“St. James Infirmary”

6:25

2.

“You Don’t Know My Mind”

3:39

3.

“Six Cold Feet”

4:55

4.

“Buddy Bolden’s Blues”

3:12

5.

“Battle of Jericho”

3:47

6.

“After You’ve Gone” (featuring Dr. John)

4:09

7.

“Swanee River”

2:43

8.

“The Whale Has Swallowed Me”

3:37

9.

“John Henry” (featuring Irma Thomas)

3:34

10.

“Police Dog Blues”

3:33

11.

“Tipitina”

5:06

12.

“Winin’ Boy Blues”

2:59

13.

“They’re Red Hot”

1:11

14.

“Baby, Please Make a Change” (featuring Sir Tom Jones & Irma Thomas)

4:57

15.

“Let Them Talk”

4:10

Extra Songs of the Special Edition Photobook

No.

Title

Length

16.

“Guess I’m A Fool”

3:09

17.

“It Ain’t Necessarily So”

3:46

18.

“Lowdown, Worried and Blue”

4:14

The recording quality of the LP is exceptional.   Played on any decent stereo, the band actually sound like they’re there in the room with you.  ‘St James Infirmary’ opens to a mournful piano intro, building slowly to a crescendo before the rest of the band joins in with a blues riff.  Laurie’s (almost sinister) laugh at “you won’t find another man like me” is reminiscent of Louis Armstrong.  Hugh sing/speaks the part to ‘Buddy Bolden’s Blues’, akin to the Jelly Roll Morton rendition.  Laurie uses his fair repertoire of voices to pull off all three voices of Buddy, the Judge and Frankie.  ‘The Whale Has Swallowed Me’ sits underneath a guitar, with a fiddle as a shuddering backdrop.  Balanced between the two is Laurie’s voice.

‘Swanee River’, after its sung intro, turns into a real foot-stomper!  ‘Battle of Jericho’ and the fabulous ‘Tipitina’ break up the mournful sounds that the majority of the album brings.  Not mournful as in “go and have a rummage through the knife drawer”, but more akin to thinking about ones’ life and reflecting on those ‘might have been’s.’

Let Them Talk is available directly from the Hugh Laurie Blues website, at http://hughlaurieblues.com/store/products,let-them-talk_8.htm

Here’s the full version of my favourite song on the album:

MP3 – LET THEM TALK

*UPDATE 24/10/11*

The album is going to be re-released (already) in a special edition for a bargain price on 14 November.  The two disc set features a 19-track album (yes, four new ones) and a live DVD.

The CD contains the following extra songs:

  • Hallelujah, I Love Her So
  • Crazy Arms
  • Waiting for a Train
  • You Don’t Know My Mind (Live in Paris)

You can preorder it from Amazon in the UK HERE.

Cover of the Re-Issue


*UPDATE 3/11/2011*

Here’s what’s on the bonus DVD.  iTunes UK have a pre-order LINK and it’s only £7.99.  GO!

  1. Welcome to New Orleans
  2. Swanee River
  3. My Journey Begins
  4. You Don’t Know My Mind
  5. Luckenbach, Texas
  6. John Henry
  7. Lead Belly
  8. A City That Doesn’t Fear Death
  9. St James Infirmary
  10. Euclid Records
  11. Buddy Bolden’s Blues
  12. Boogie Woogie
  13. Baby Please Make a Change
  14. Let Them Talk
  15. Tipitina

*UPDATE 12/11/2011*

Hugh has a new single out soon, “Hallelujah, I Love Her So’ and the proceeds will be going to the BBC Chidren in Need Appeal 2011.  He will be performing the track with Jamie Cullum at the Children in Need Rocks charity concert on 17 November, and the event will be broadcast on BBC1 that night from 8pm.

*UPDATE 7 December 2011*

I have a spare, brand new copy of the ‘Let Them Talk’ Music Book if anyone’s interested in making me an offer.  Mail me!

Advertisements

One thought on “Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk *Updated 7/12/2011*

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s