Hugh Laurie: Didn't It Rain (Warners)

 |   |  1 min read

Hugh Laurie: The Weed Smoker's Dream
Hugh Laurie: Didn't It Rain (Warners)

Musicians can get very territorial when actors are perceived to be moving into their turf. People like Juliette Lewis, Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron have hardly been welcomed (sometimes with good reason) and so Hugh Laurie was met with some scepticism when he released his Let Them Talk (nice title!) a couple of years back.

Clearly Laurie -- who sings and plays piano -- loved and understood the music of New Orleans, so much so that Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint were involved. That album was produced by knobman-du-jour Joe Henry.

Henry is back for this collection which also features excellent players like Greg Leisz, Kevin Breit, Jay Bellerose among them, and Taj Mahal sings on Vicksburg Blues. 

Again Laurie goes to the classic Nawlins songbook (it opens with a pleasantly off-kilter St Louis Blues) and his piano playing is way past just serviceable even if his vocals don't quite resonate on this material as you might hope.

There are some standouts (the Taj track is fine) and the best is Gaby Moreno's languidly sensual and head-nod vocal on Weed Smoker's Dream, and Jean McClain on the the earthy Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair and the slow burning I Hate a Man Like You.

At such times Laurie steps back to let the spotlight fall elsewhere and that democratic tendency is admirable. The re-arrangements are patchy -- the slinky swing of One For My Baby takes a couple of listens to appreciate -- and over the 13 songs there are some good hits but some real misses (Wild Honey).

His critics will say he shouldn't give up the day job, but Laurie is serious and although the pure and dark spirit of New Orleans and these blues might not always be evoked, this can be highly enjoyable, especially if you aren't excpecting voodoo and spooks to be conjured up.

Probably better placed just under "music" but there's more than enough blues here for it to be under this category.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Blues at Elsewhere articles index

THE BLUES HAD A BRITISH BABY (2021) And they called it . . . rock'n'roll, psychedelic rock and hard rock?

THE BLUES HAD A BRITISH BABY (2021) And they called it . . . rock'n'roll, psychedelic rock and hard rock?

The history of the blues has been written, rewritten, revised, over-written and turned into academic treatises and a subject for analysis. But it remains something which can get lost in the... > Read more

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

“You tell them this,” says 58-year old bluesman Watermelon Slim in a voice which sounds like he has been gargling whisky-soaked nails. “God has blessed me with an extremely full... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Pangaea: Pangaea (digital outlets)

Pangaea: Pangaea (digital outlets)

Amidst the recent noise made at the suggestion Radio NZ's Concert programme would be shifted to AM and do away with presenters, we heard some curious accusations thrown at classical music: That it... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE TRONS: Tune up, plug in and turn on

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE TRONS: Tune up, plug in and turn on

Some weeks ago Elsewhere posted a clip of this extraordinary and possibly unique band out of Hamilton (aka "The Tron") in New Zealand onto Facebook.... > Read more