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)
“Police Dog Blues”
“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.