Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

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Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

1 CD(s) - Blues - Label: Warner Bros. - Distributor: Arvato Services, Arvato Services; Proper - Released: 09/05/2011 - 825646734092, 825646740789

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Review of "Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie"

published 02/07/2011 | gothic_moon
Member since : 23/09/2005
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Super
Pro Soulful, good accompaniments, strong music
Cons See review
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Listen With A Whiskey & A Toothpick"

I must admit that despite loving House, and, of course, the infamous Blackadder, I didn’t realise he was in the music scene. What drew my attention was a news article that he was in my town playing guitar I believe and singing as part of a jazz festival, which surprised me slightly. It did, however, make me very curious as to how good he was at guitar, his style of music and his voice, so I downloaded a copy of Let Them Talk. After several listens, I’ve found that this is actually quite an addictive album, even if it is somewhat of an acquired taste!

Let Them Talk was released this year (2011) on Warner Bros Records as Laurie’s debut album. I hadn’t seen any advertising for it, nor heard about it on the grapevine, so it’s a bit of a hidden gem in some ways. If you’re not sure what to expect, think of Americanised, soulful blues, personal touches and some famous voices making contributions along the way.

This album features Laurie doing both vocals and playing piano whilst backed by a strong supporting group of musicians (including Solomon Burke and John Legend). It was actually recorded in New Orleans and Los Angeles, and the nature of New Orleans blues really does hit you on the first listen.

What we get from this album is a mix of personally selected and reworked songs, with 15 tracks in total :

1. Saint James Infirmary
2. You Don't Know My Mind
3. Buddy Bolden's Blues
4. The Whale Has Swallowed Me
5. John Henry-Feat. Irma Thomas
6. They're Red Hot
7. Six Cold Feet In The Ground
8. The Battle Of Jericho
9. After You've Gone-Feat. Dr. John
10. Swanee River
11. Police Dog Blues
12. Tipitina
13. Whinin' Boy Blues
14. Baby, Please Make A Change-Feat. Sir Tom Jones & Irma Thomas
15. Let Them Talk

Some of the tracks have some strong, yet somewhat unexpected, guest stars. For example, Tom Jones collaborates with ‘Baby, please make a change’ and ‘John Henry’, the former of which also features Irma Thomas. This gives the album a good quality feel and liven it up a bit, making it feel a bit more authentic.

I think that’s the thing that first struck me about this; why is Laurie, a regular English guy turned American star, pretending to be a bluesy soulster? How can that sound authentic, how can you listen to it and believe it without cringing?

It took me two listens, through the whole album, until I realised that I actually really liked it in a strange way. Admittedly this isn’t my usual cuppa tea, and I don’t own any other blues in my iTunes. But this has something special about it, something that makes it easy to listen to and get lost in and it starts to sound authentic and like a true representation of New Orleans blues.

Some of the tracks are quite soulful, yearning and saddening in a way that makes you reminisce. Others, however, are upbeat, swinging and very catchy. It gives you a good mix of blues and each track is original, unique in its own way and makes the album easy to listen to and pick out some of your favourite tracks. Baby, Please Make A Change, and You Don’t Know My Mind are probably my favourite picks at the moment.

The musical accompaniment is a strong support for the blues sound, especially when you get the brass kicking in. As you listen to it there are lots of feelings and emotions that arise, which to me is the sign of a good album because it’s emotive and affects some hidden part of you.

For me, the main downside is that it perhaps lacks something that I can't quite put my finger on. I guess it just doesn't shout 'amazing, incredible!', and for that I'm giving it 4 stars. A bit more oomph may have shaken it up and made it that bit more extra special.

There’s a quote from Laurie that sums up his album quite nicely :
“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,” said Laurie. “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.”

Overall then, this is somewhat of an acquired taste. I’ve come to love it because it’s different, it’s swinging and bluesy, it’s easy to listen to. I also get the hankering to sit down with a whiskey in one hand whilst chewing on a toothpick. I would definitely recommend giving it a listen, even if, like me at first, you don’t think it’s your thing. You may be pleasantly surprised. Laurie is definitely a man of surprising talents.

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Comments on this review

  • misspurple7 published 03/07/2011
    Agreed. Very good album
  • Timbo3107 published 02/07/2011
    E from me... its always interesting that St James Infirmary makes the list.. Jools Holland, Tom Jones just to name a few.
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Product Information : Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Blues - Label: Warner Bros. - Distributor: Arvato Services, Arvato Services; Proper - Released: 09/05/2011 - 825646734092, 825646740789

Product Details

EAN: 825646734092, 825646740789

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