While Hugh Laurie is known the world over as one of Britain’s finest actors, he has stepped out of his comfort zone and recorded his debut album. Let Them Talk is a fond nod to the classic blues of 1920’s New Orleans.
Recorded partly in the historic city of New Orleans, let them talk is a tour-de-force of Hugh Laurie’s musical talents. He plays both guitar and piano on the tracks, and of course provides a brilliant vocal. Together with his band they walk us through some of the finest songs that the genre has to offer, from legendary artists including Robert Johnson, Ray Charles, Memphis Slim and Lead Belly.
A personal favourite on the album is You Don’t Know My Mind. The track swings along and the inventive use of mandolin adds an extra element to the song that stands right out but seems right at home. Another highlight of the album is the song Baby, Please Make a Change in which Hugh and the venerable Sir Tom Jones share lead vocals.
One slight criticism of the album that I’ve heard is that Hugh sounds too much like House, the eponymous misanthropic character of the US medical drama. However when singing the blues, surely one would find it more jarring to hear it being sung is his very British accent.
“In my imagination, New Orleans just straight hummed with music, romance, joy, despair; its rhythms got into my gawky English frame and, at times, made me so happy and sad, I just didn’t know what to do with myself,” says Laurie in the albums press release. “I love this music as authentically as I know how, and I want you to love it too. If you get a thousandth of the pleasure from it that I’ve had, we’re all ahead of the game.”
And he needn’t worry, every song on the album is great, and one can almost imagine that this is what the original songs would have sounded like in the studio when they were being first recorded nearly a century ago.
Hugh Laurie has conquered the world of television on both sides of the Atlantic, and Let Them Talk proves without a doubt that he has what it takes to conquer the world of music too.
Let Them Talk
St. James Infirmary
You Don’t Know My Mind
Six Cold Feet
Buddy Bolden’s Blues
Battle of Jericho
After You’ve Gone
The Whale Has Swallowed Me
John Henry (feat. Irma Thomas)
Police Dog Blues
Winnin’ Boy Blues
They’re Red Hot
Baby, Please Make a Change (feat. Tom Jones)
Let Them Talk