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Hugh Laurie’s Let Them Talk CD To Be Released in May

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Besides being a fine actor, Hugh Laurie has proven himself to be a singer and piano player par excellence. A few months ago, I talked a bit about Laurie’s highly anticipated blues record and its imminent release. With heavy hitters such as Irma Thomas, Dr. John, and Sir Tom Jones on board, the album looks like it’s going to be something special.

Now more fuel has been thrown on that anticipatory flame with a title, a (U.K.) release date, album cover art and (joy of joys!) a track listing.

The album title, Let Them Talk, is also the last song on the CD and presumably a cover version of the great old James Booker tune. The CD is set for a May 9th release on the U.K. Amazon site and May 17th on the U.S. site. But before you pull out your credit card, be warned. The CD being sold on the U.S. Amazon site is the import and is priced as such. There is no U.S. release date yet.

Judging by fan reaction on Twitter, this fact doesn’t seem to bother those intent on pre-ordering the CD from Amazon and paying a premium price. I completely understand how they feel but can’t help wondering: when Let Them Talk finally does appear on U.S. shelves and iTunes (September, according to the Hugh Laurie Blues Facebook page), will it include bonus content such as a DVD or bonus tracks? Record companies frequently offer this sort of content for popular releases, referring to them as “deluxe editions.” Why should a highly anticipated release like “Let Them Talk” be an exception? True, the U.K. version has no such content but that could change once it’s released on these shores.

Many staunch Laurie fans may be buying the release twice.

Of course I’m just speculating and the U.S. release might be the same as the U.K.’s. We’ll just have to wait and see. While we ponder this, here is the track listing, which looks like a fine mix of covers and originals.

“Saint James Infirmary”
“You Don’t Know My Mind”
“Buddy Bolden’s Blues”
“The Whale Has Swallowed Me”
“John Henry” (featuring Irma Thomas)
“They’re Red Hot”
“Six Cold Feet In the Ground”
“The Battle of Jericho”
“After You’ve Gone” (featuring Dr. John)
“Swanee River”
“Police Dog Blues”
“Tipitina”
“Whinin’ Boy Blues”
“Baby, Please Make a Change” (featuring Sir Tom Jones and Irma Thomas)
“Let Them Talk”

As for the cover art: I guess Warner’s art department wanted to get Laurie looking as stubble-jawed and House-like as possible. That’s marketing for you. A shot of Hugh Laurie at the piano would have been more to my liking and more representative of the album as a whole.

Stay tuned! More information on Hugh Laurie’s Let Them Talk will be posted as it becomes available.

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About Mindy Peterman

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Pre-order, done. I don’t really care if i end up buying it twice. I would pay anything when it comes to Hugh – the least i can do after all the joy he’s brought into my life for 7 seasons.

  • Martha Lee

    I am excited about the album and have pre-ordered from UK Amazon and will get the US one in September. I was hoping for a better cover shot, we can only hope the inside booklet has better pictures. Even the ones shot while recording would have been better. I liked the ones on the official facebook page.
    I am not a jazz/blues fan, but do enjoy anything Hugh Laurie creates. I was also kind of hoping for more original music and I know Hugh will do an awesome job with the covers of his favorites.

  • Mindy

    Martha Lee: I do agree about the cover photo. Any of those Facebook photos would have been a better choice. But that’s marketing for you.

  • rbrown205

    I am listening to other artists’ renditions of many of these songs to get an idea of what is coming. Hugh Laurie’s wonderful ability as musician and vocalist are showcased. But with Grammy award winner Joe Henry as producer, Allen Toussaint arranging many of the tracks, and the great vocal and musical assistance of Tom Jones, Irma Thomas, and the phenomenal Dr. John, this CD is going to be really amazing.
    I think the picture is close to perfect. Playing on the title, it’s like he is saying: This is a showcase of early New Orleans blues musicians. Through me and my friends, I just want to Let Them Talk.

  • Mindy

    rbrown205: Thanks for your comment. That’s an excellent idea you had about checking out other artists’ renditions of these songs. I will definitely be doing the same!

  • Mary

    Not sure I’ll be able to hold out for the US release. It used to not bother me much to buy things twice like you mention but now that I’ve got a mortgage it changes those little things.

    Thanks for the track listing (I avoid Facebook like the plague so rely on folks like you to alert me to updates there). And I’m with rbrown too. I’m not a blues aficianado but I do know what I like so this will be an interesting pre-release exploration.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am okay with the cover art but I would argue that it’s not very good marketing. my suspicion is that most folks who are Hugh fans know about the album nad don’t need his picture on the cover to know the name. They’ve already got the release date penciled in and the pre-order in the books.

    There may be a number of House MD watchers that aren’t as deep into the Hugh fnadom and know nothing about Hugh’s album so this cover art is obviously targeting them. I believe they need to target the serious blue fans because they are the ones that will determine the longevity of the artist (ie the continued cash flow to Warner). How many of them will turn their nose up at just the idea of some “actor” making a serious blues album and either won’t give it a try or will be set against it before they even listen and never give it a chance?

    You win over the true music fans and not only does Hugh have a chance to make music on a regular basis but Warner continues to make money as well.

    It just reeks to me of a lack of confidence by the record label. that doesn’t mean I think they think the album isn’t any good, I think they, like the rest of the public has been conditioned to think that actors kind of suck at making music so you’ve gotta squeeze all your profits out of that first album because it’s not likely you’ll get another of any quality or sales.

    I hope Hugh blows this myth out of the water and gets the blues community and his record label to take him seriously.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/mindy-peterman/ Mindy

    Mary: You bring up a lot of interesting points, not the least of which is how Hugh will be perceived by blues fans. I think it will be great if those fans embrace the release because of the quality of the music and performance. Your last sentence says it all. Thanks!

  • lil tune

    i love doctor john growllllllll…..my fav ever see him in seattle alot. LOVE him cool combo Laurie and the Doc

  • fee

    What about Portugal? I really hope it’ll be released in portugal. I read that it’ll be released in Europe in 9th May. Does it includes Portugal?

    Thank You

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/mindy-peterman/ Mindy

    fee: I’m sure the CD will eventually be available worldwide. Like I said, we’ll find out more on the 22nd when Conrad Withey makes his announcement.

  • http://www.bluesinthesouth.com Ian McKenzie

    This, so far, (on the basis of clips) sounds like a pretty good album. It will probably win awards (just because of the popularity of Laurie, not because it is a better blues album) but in the big picture it will do ‘The Blues’ no harm at all

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/mindy-peterman Mindy Peterman

    Ian: I have to agree with you there. Also, I think those who enjoy Laurie’s renditions of these tunes might be inspired to check out the original versions.

    Just a FYI: According to the French Amazon site,”Let Them Talk” is being released in France on April 18th. This is nearly a month before it will be made available to the rest of Europe.