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 03/07/2011 | Deesrev
Member since : 01/09/2010
Reviews : 205
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Excellent
Pro foot stomppin', dancing' singing' and jigging' album to lift your spirits!
Cons Do The Neighbours Like The Blues?!
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"'I'm In The Blues'…But I Couldn't Be Happier!"

Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

Reason for purchase ~ ‘Is There A Doctor In The House’



Because I’m a fan of Hugh Laurie! Not enough? Well, I’ve followed the work of this extraordinary skillful guy for decades. This man seems to be able to turn his hand to anything presented to him, no matter how demanding the role. Laurie has the effect that he can have folk laughing ‘til it hurts, or gripped to the point of open mouthed awe. I have loved his musical ability from the first time I heard him tinkling on the ivories of a piano on ‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’. When I heard of a Blues album coming out with Laurie’s creative stamp on it, it was as good as bought in my eyes!

Musical competence ~ ‘True Blue’

Excuse me if I gush, but Hugh Laurie is a real star! For me, Laurie is an incomparable ingenious actor, imaginative author, sharp witted comedian and gifted musician. The latter underscored by Laurie’s latest offering, ‘Let them talk’. From the tender age of six Laurie had taken piano lessons. In fact, Hugh’s expertise not only is with playing a piano but extends to the guitar, harmonica, drums, keyboards and saxophone. His vocals are astounding.....

The Album ~ ‘The Blues Brothers’

The album is produced by Joseph Lee "Joe" Henry. But what are his credentials that should enthuse folk’s trust? To begin with, he is a singer and songwriter himself. Additional, a refined guitarist, and renowned record producer. If this weren’t enough, Henry's own musical style and expertise spans many genres that include country, folk, rock and aptly here, jazz.

We all know that Laurie can play the piano, but this is a whole new ‘case of the blues’! Laurie doesn’t just dip his toes into the watery ‘Blues’ depths of the Deep South, he jumps right on in! Swinging us from the likes of Mr. Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, better known as Jelly Roll Morton, the early jazz pianist, recognized as a crucial figure in original jazz onto Mr. Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, Jr. or more widely known as our own musical GP, Dr. John, an American pianist, songwriter, singer and guitarist. John’s musical flavours incorporate not just pop and rock and roll, but as this album shows, boogie woogie, blues and jazz.

As the inner booklet of the album notes, Laurie explains how these artists and genre of music has been ‘the music of his heart ever since it invaded...my gawky English frame’. Stephen Fry refers to Laurie as being ‘painfully self-critical’, this is emphasized in his feelings toward his infringing on the Blues, Laurie declares, “I was not born in Alabama in the 1890s, I’ve never eaten grits, cropped a share, or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman said anything to my mother when I was born and there’s no hellhound on my trail, as far as I can judge. Let this record show that I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south.’ You’ll be glad Hugh did impinge on the revered Blues!

The Tracks ~ ‘Let Them Talk’…I’m Listening Instead!



Sit down, kick your shoes off, and make yourself comfy, you’re in for a feast of delights with fifteen courses of authentically sounding tracks! Up first on the menu is a song that is a story of the consequences suffered from a depraved lifestyle:

“Saint James Infirmary”, at 6:25 it’s just too short! The track carries a whole 2:42 of a phenomenal piano solo by Laurie. Throughout this lengthy acoustic introduction, the hauntingly slow and powerfully deep flowing accentuation on the strokes of the piano envelope and captivate me into the melody. Then, like a sudden jerk, I feel I’m being propelled into another track, only to find that the change of tempo has produced a toe tapping response from me! For a whole 30 seconds, one is enraptured by a total change of jazzy instrumentals. Then at 3:10 seconds, Laurie breaks in with a Southern drawl, but certainly not the misrepresented stereotypical Southern accent, more like the distinctive dialect of American English that New Orleans has actually developed over the years. If you think of Hugh Laurie’s character ‘House’ singing the Blues, this is it! With bluesy and stirring tones, Laurie effortlessly and enchantingly belts out ‘I went down to St James Infirmary, Saw my baby there…stretched out on a long white table, So cold, so sweet, so sweet, so fair’.

For the sake of you patient readers, I will simply provide a brief run through of the next fourteen track’s delights from this sumptuous album…or attempt too!

The second track on the album is “You Don’t Know My Mind” (3:39) First released with Virginia Liston way back in 1923 and also sung by the such legends as Ella Fitzgerald. Laurie furnishes us with a lively and zippy delivery of this song. With some ‘tongue in cheek’ lyrics such as ‘Sometimes I think my baby’s too good to die...Sometimes I think she should be buried alive..Baby you don’t know, you don’t know my mind...When you see me laughing, I’m laughing just to keep from crying’. This track is a delight, with its up tempo pace struts through varied and melodious lyrics.

“Six Cold Feet in the Ground” (4:55) ensues, a song from Leroy Carr, the pianist, songwriter and blues singer whose wonderful laid-back style influenced many legendary singers. Laurie follows suit as he croons his way through ‘Just remember me darling...When I'm in six feet of cold cold ground’. The slow beat gives a superb backing to Laurie’s imploring supplications.

Next in line is a Bolden number. Born well over a century ago, Buddy was regarded as the ‘undisputed creator’ of jazz! “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” (3:13), among the most widely known Bolden numbers, was originally called "Funky Butt". Musicians much closer to Bolden's generation have commented that this melody refers to flatulence! Entertaining tinkling on the old ivories afford a fun intro to Laurie’s lyrical content of ‘Open up that window, and let that bad air out’, who am I to argue that this song is do with bodily functions?

Gloria Estefan sang “The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You", well it certainly will when you listen to “The Battle of Jericho”! (3:48) This is a song that has its roots in religious songs, known as spirituals, developed by the enslaved African people in America. The song refers to the Biblical account of Joshua and the Israelites, under Divine supervision, won their conquest against Canaan. In a marching tempo Laurie jauntily sweeps us through this magneticing gospel, with lyrical tones of ‘Up To The Walls Of Jericho...He Marched With Spear In Hand...Go Blow Them Ram Horns, Joshua Cried 'Cause The Battle Is In My Hands’. You’ll be tapping your fingers and toes to the music without restraint!

After this inspirational song comes “After You’ve Gone” (4:09) which features Dr. John. A song composed by the pianist, singer and songwriter, John Turner Layton, Jr. with words by the American song lyricist Henry Creamer. With sensual instrumentals, Dr John’s confident vocals are supported by Laurie’s adept piano acoustics; the band’s instrumentals accompany the melody beautifully. As the Doc laments over his lost love, ‘Now listen, honey...while I say...How you could tell me that you gone away? Don’t you say that we must part...While you won't break my aching heart’ we’re soulfully carried through this expressive melody.

“Swanee River” (2:43) from the songwriter and revered as the "father of American music" Stephen Collins Foster, this enchanting melody is given the Laurie touch, starting off with a slow impassioned ‘Way down upon the Swanee River..Far, far away...That's where my heart is turning ever...That's where the old folks stay’ then breaks into a jazzed up, body swaying, toe tapping jig; the fun in Hugh’s voice is infectious.

“The Whale Has Swallowed Me” (3:37) is next in line, from J. B. Lenoir, the musician, singer and songwriter. The song is a tale of the prophet Jonah, from the Biblical account of his experiences in trying to avoid his God given task. With the accompaniment of the twang of guitar strings, Laurie sings the elementary narrative to this ballad decisively as he struts out such lyrics as ‘They say the Whale swallowed Jonah...Out in the deep blue sea..Sometimes I get that feeling...That same old Whale has swallowed me’.

Next up is “John Henry” (3:35), featuring Irma Thomas, also known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans"! JH, born in the mid 1800’s, was born a slave, as a man, working as a laborer for the railroads. The story goes that one day; a salesman boasted that ‘his steam-powered machine could out drill any man’. Of renowned strength, John Henry won the contest, but only to die of its effects! In the background, Laurie supports the strength of Irma’s adept voice walloping out the lyrics like ‘I'm gonna die with my hammer in my hand’.

“Police Dog Blues” (3:33) by Arthur Blake, known as ‘Blind Blake’ and "The King of Ragtime Guitar" who was a significant guitarist, ragtime and blues singer and guitarist. With the twanging of guitar instrumentals, Laurie warbles out this easy on the ear chilled out melodious offering. With entertaining lyrics of ‘She Got a police dog that's craving for a fight...His name is Rambler and when he gets the chance..He leaves his mark on everybody's pants’; one is carried along with this smooth and flowing offering.

The pace is changed with“Tipitina” (5:07) by the New Orleans pianist and blues singer Henry Roeland Byrd, known as Professor Longhair. A brief and slow instrumental start changes to a more up-beat bouncy musical introduction, then when Laurie cuts in ‘Well Loberta, Well Loberta...Girl, can't you hear me callin' you’ he enthralls with his boogy like rendition of this swinging reverberating gem.

“Whinin’ Boy Blues” (3:00) by Jelly Roll Morton, is a perfect song to showcase Laurie’s dulcet candy for the ears tone! With Laurie’s rumbling of ‘I’m the wining boy, don't deny my name’ one is instantly caught up echoing his mellifluous and measured pitch. The tune shuffles along with its wonderfully catchy measured tempo.

Ooohh the track “They’re Red Hot” a short version at only 1:12 is a belter! Originally written and performed by the blues musician Robert Johnson. With rawness in his voice, Laurie shouts out the title twice, then with speedy tempo supporting basic lyrics and Hugh’s fun jazzy tones ring out, the song ends before it seems to have started! Laure is ‘red hot’ performing this nugget!

Next in line is the penultimate offering of this album, “Baby, Please Make a Change” (4:58) which features Sir Tom Jones and again, Irma Thomas. If I was forced to choose one of my top favourites, this would be on the list. A song from the talented 30’s group The Mississippi Sheiks, fiddle and band that was notable for mostly playing country blues. You have to kick your shoes off to this one; you’ll be compelled to sway in movement to the captivating melody in pure ecstasy. Tom begins the beseeching appeal ‘Baby, Please Make a Change’ in his own stirring powerful way. As an authoritative background support Irma’s combined tones with other artist provides a contrasting and ample back drop to Tom’s masterful content. Feminist may be swayed by Tom’s sensual pleas; I’m changing Tom, I’m changing! :D Finally the exquisite dessert….

“Let Them Talk” (4:10) by Alfonso Thompson, known as Sonny Thompson, born in Mississippi and became an accomplished bandleader, pianist and songwriter. This is an absolute treat to wind down too. Hugh’s wonderful drawl in extending the lyrics build to a crescendo that will leave you appealing for an encore, only to realize you just need to click replay!

So here ends the extensive album of fifteen polished tracks; no indigestion here! You’ll be foot stomppin’, dancing’ singing’ and jigging’ your way through this album time and again. One doesn’t need to be even informed (I’m not!) or familiar with New Orleans and Louisiana blues to thoroughly enjoy this banquet of delights.

Do I Recommend? ~ ‘Stay Tuned’

Need you ask after reading my unreserved gushing over the album? :D Yes, most certainly. I couldn’t put it more articulately than the star of the album himself, “I love this music, as authentically as I know how, and I want you to love it too.” If you decide to check out this obscure and unusual album, I think you’ll see this love of the music shine through”, believe me, you will!

My son bought me this album at our local Morrisons for just short of £10. It is available at the majority of equally known stores and online, such as Amazon currently for, wait for it…£5:93!


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Comments on this review

  • Chippytarka published 02/12/2014
    Fab reviewx
  • dawnymarie published 29/08/2011
    Interesting and beautifully reviewed! x
  • Bigbaz published 14/08/2011
    Now this interests me so I'm away to have a look to see if there are any tracks on you tube
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Product Information : Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie

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

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EAN: 825646734092, 825646740789

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