Newest Review: ... very powerful. I couldn't help but tap my toe all the way through. Laurie has a great voice (even if his range is limited- he knows how and... more
A Blues Album With An Actor Singing Lead Vocals. Shocking!
Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie
Member Name: mikejohn25
Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie
Advantages: Gives you a crash course in the blues. Blues for beginners.
Disadvantages: Laurie's seemingly forced American accented vocals may be a stumbling block for some.
I heard the first track from this album on the radio at work one day. The song was You Don't Know My Mind and I didn't know what to make of it. I sort of glossed over it and had to do a double take when the DJ said that that was a new song by Hugh Laurie.
Hugh Laurie plays the piano? That was my first thought. I wasn't surprised that Hugh Laurie sings, because I'd seen and heard him sing in Jeeves and Wooster and used to think that the piano had been played for him in that.
I then watched a documentary which saw him heading to New Orleans to record this blues roots inspired album and saw him actually play the piano. And boy can he play piano!! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. On the one hand I was thinking how dare an actor try and be a musician, but on the other hand I was thinking that this is actually pretty good stuff.
The other hand won and I found that he actually isn't in it for the money and that he actually really loves the Blues music of America, knows his facts about it, and can play it with the best of them. I've heard a few people say that his faux American singing accent is a little forced, but I actually like it, and when all is said and done he is an actor and knows how to change his voice to suit his role, singing or otherwise. Its really quite clever and well sung.
The album also benefits from some fantastic special guests including Dr. John and Tom Jones. But after hearing the tracks with the special guests singing on them, you find that you miss Laurie's vocal. That shows success for Laurie's vocals in my opinion.
The tracks that really leap out to me on the album are: the first single You Don't Know My Mind which is one of the most 'commercial' sounding songs and one of the easiest to sing along to. The next is Swanee River, the only song I knew about before hearing the album. What a stunning atmosphere created by the fantastic opening phrase which starts slow, then crashes into some fantastic boogy woogy piano playing, which really sets you up for the day if you listen on your way to work. The next is a song called Red Hot which is the shortest song on the album. But its shortness in no way makes it the weakest. Its got some fast singing by Laurie that actually makes you laugh and smile with joy, its so well played and quirky.
Some of the songs contain a really spiritual element, for example; The Whale Has Swallowed Me and The Battle of Jericho which just adds another dimension to the song selection and the emotional levels on the album. What strikes me is that none of the album is performed at all tongue in cheek but done really seriously and has stayed true to the roots of the original songwriters. Laurie's passion for the blues genre positively sweeps through the speakers.
If its not careful this album could become a bit of a classic and must buy just to hear what all the fuss is about. All I can say is I really thought it worthy to grace the shelves where the original writers of those Blues song are kept and that I am definately converted to Hugh Laurie's style of blues even if I never listen to any of the original stuff.
Summary: Authentic sound played by authentic musicians, in the city that the original music came from.