For fans of the TV show “House” plus his many other comedic appearances abroad, it’s common knowledge that Hugh Laurie also has many musical talents. These will be featured on “Let Them Talk,” a collection of New Orleans-inspired blues covers sung and performed on piano by Laurie, along with a crop of backing and featured talent. Superproducer and solo recording artist Joe Henry helmed.
“Let Them Talk” will be released through Warner Bros. Sept. 6.
Legendary NoLa icons dot the tracklist. Irma Thomas shows up on “John Henry” and “Soul Queen of New Orleans” (which also guests Tom Jones). Laurie’s hero Dr. John collabs on “After You’ve Gone”; Allen Toussaint crafted all the horn arrangements for the album.
Some of the songs covered are from infamous recording artists like Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles; Laurie also didn’t leave the ladies behind, as he tackled tracks from Sister Rosetta Tharp and Bessie Smith.
His backers include some big studio names, many who have backed Henry: drummer Jay Bellerose (Solomon Burke), bassist David Piltch (k.d. lang), guitarist/dobro/mandolinist Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Wilco),
keyboardist Patrick Warren (John Legend, Bruce Springsteen) and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Breit (Norah Jones).
Many members of the collective appear in a live clip of Laurie performing”You Don’t Know My Mind,” the second track on “Let Them Talk,” below.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Clips from the recording process can been seen on Laurie’s YouTube channel.
Here is the tracklist of “Let Them Talk”:
1. Saint James Infirmary (Louis Armstrong / Snooks Eaglin)
2. You Don”t Know My Mind (Lead Belly)
3. Six Cold Feet (Leroy Carr)
4. Buddy Bolden”s Blues (Jelly Roll Morton)
5. Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho (Sister Rosetta Tharp)
6. After You”ve Gone (Bessie Smith /Fats Waller)
7. Swanee River (Ray Charles / Dr. John)
8. The Whale Has Swallowed Me (J.B.Lenoir)
9. John Henry (Memphis Slim / Snooks Eaglin)
10. Police Dog Blues (Blind Blake)
11. Tipitina (Professor Longhair)
12. Winin” Boy Blues (Jelly Roll Morton)
13. They”re Red Hot (Robert Johnson)
14. Baby, Please Make A Change (Mississippi Sheiks)
15. Let Them Talk (James Booker)