Miss N

Hugh Laurie Sings the Blues

When I first heard House star Hugh Laurie was a singer on top of being a great actor and comedian, I was somewhat surprised. He himself admits he’s broken a cardinal rule of art, music and career paths: “actors are supposed to act, musicians are supposed to (make) music. That’s how it works. You don’t buy fish from a dentist, or ask a plumber for financial advice, so why listen to an actor’s music?”

Last night gave me a reason why.

I was invited to attend a special show where Hugh and a nine-piece band would be performing some of the songs off his debut album, Let Them Talk. So special, it would be filmed live in New Orleans, a site of such musical ancestry and the place that inspired many of the classic songs on the album.

The venue, called Latrobe’s on Royal Street in the French Quarter, is the perfect setting for Hugh to celebrate the New Orleans blues songs he has recorded on his debut album. He arrives a few moments after we do, chatting briefly to people before going behind a curtain to prepare. There are a handful of us, about 25, seated in the room of this much-loved venue built by an architect – Hugh will soon proudly tell us – who is also from Yorkshire.

He saunters in cheerily, and makes his way to the Steinway & Sons piano, to perform songs that he has come to hold dear to his heart. Every now and then, he brings in horns supremo Allen Toussaint, who gently, yet masterfully conducts the horn section of the band. Each time Allen comes in and goes out again, Hugh stands and bows to thank him for joining him in the recording.

It’s a recording for broadcast, so camera angles need to be changed and lights need to be adjusted. Each time the sound engineer comes out to fix something, Hugh calls him the WOM – “not a well-oiled machine, but a well-oiled man!”

At one stage, he brings out a small brown guitar, telling us it’s from the 1930s and he loves it so much that he wants to cover it in cream and eat it. Hugh talks about his old piano teacher Mrs Hare, before dedicating Swanee River to her, and tells us how she cut short his formal training because she refused to teach him this very ditty.

Let Them Talk

Hugh also brings out special guests: “I now call to the stage, no wait, this isn’t a stage…it’s a floor. No actually, a rug. I now call to the rug the wonderful Irma Thomas.” The New Orleans singer gloriously croons alongside him. “Just how excited can you get?” Hugh asks us, before Sir Tom Jones comes out and they, together with Irma, dive into Baby, Please Make A Change (originally done by Mississippi Sheiks). The comraderie between the two – as singers – is evident as they banter about song lyrics and Tom gives Hugh a knowing nod during the song.

Hugh Laurie, Tom Jones, Irma Thomas

Hugh also name-checks pianist Professor Longhair and before he plays Tipitina tells us: “This song means a great deal to me, and if I can, I want to make it mean a great deal to you.”

That’s what tonight – and the album – is all about. Making music lovers appreciate the blues all over again. And that’s doctor’s orders!

Hugh Laurie, Nadia Neophytou
Hugh Laurie’s album, Let Them Talk, is due to be released in South Africa and Europe in May and. He will be performing a few shows in Europe during April and May. More details here.

P.S  I thoroughly enjoyed Sir Tom Jones joining in the fun and contributing his  deep vocals to the track he sang. As always, he was full of good words about South Africa, when I chatted to him afterwards. The only thing that upset him, he said, was that he missed seeing the World Cup in action because he left SA after performing in Cape Town and at Sun City just before kick-off, and so he had to watch it all on TV!

Tom Jones, Nadia Neophytou

20 comments

  1. Terrific work! That is the kind of info that should be shared
    across the net. Disgrace on the seek engines for not positioning this submit upper!

    Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thanks =)

  2. Hello, There’s no doubt that your blog may be having browser compatibility problems.
    When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, excellent blog!

  3. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff
    previous to and you’re just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.
    You make it entertaining and you still take care of
    to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read far more from you.
    This is really a terrific web site.

  4. You could certainly see your skills within the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  5. excellent post, very informative. I ponder why the
    other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing.
    I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  6. Hi there mates, its great article on the topic of cultureand entirely defined, keep
    it up all the time. games ps4 allenferguson games ps4

  7. Thank you for some other fantastic post. The place else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect approach of writing?

    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  8. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get
    there! Cheers

  9. This is the perfect blog for anyone who would like to find out
    about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a new spin on a subject that’s been written about for many years.
    Great stuff, just great!

  10. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem together with your web site in internet explorer, may test
    this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a big portion of folks
    will pass over your magnificent writing because of this problem.

  11. I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the great works guys I’ve included you guys
    to my personal blogroll. asmr 0mniartist

  12. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark
    your blog and definitely will come back at some point.

    I want to encourage one to continue your great work,
    have a nice afternoon! asmr 0mniartist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.