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4.4 out of 5 stars496
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2011
I heard Laurie's album playing in Tesco this afternoon and loved it but was hesitant about buying it, purely because of what I call the 'crossover curse'. Sinatra was a good singer, horrific actor. The same can be said of many actors, singers etc. who attempt to cross over into something different. Only very few have managed the feat credibly and in my opinion, Laurie has managed it. In his favour, he clearly knows his voice very well and knows that in some ways, it's very limited but in blues, that doesn't really matter. Solomon Burke was not really a great singer, but blues music needs a bit of rough around the edges charm to be really good and it's fortunate that Laurie has that in abundance. It's also to his credit that on songs that need a 'good' singer, Laurie defers to someone else who is much better suited to the task - Tom Jones being one such instance.

The album won't suit some people's tastes, particularly those buying the album purely because it was made by Hugh Laurie of House fame. For me, I love the album because of the instrumental performances first and Laurie's voice second. Listening to the album it is clear that you're being taken to the New Orleans music soaked atmosphere and those who appreciate that type of music will love it. It's sincere and mixes joy and pain together very well whilst maintaining an air of sophistication possessed by someone who really does love the music he's performing - and no one can deny that Laurie is very talented, particularly on piano and guitar. Yes, the vocals are rough, but if they were polished and perfect I think that the album would be somehow be lacking, blues needs that feel of being performed after a heavy night of drinking in order to work properly.

I've read one review elsewhere that objected to Laurie's use of an American accent when singing, but really this strikes me as a bit of a nonsensical argument because there is no way that you can take a genre of music so quintessentially American and then sing it with an British accent. It would be like Lily Allen singing without the cockney accent - it wouldn't work. Similarly, some have raised eyebrows at an Englishman attempting blues classics, but to them I say that music is the one thing in life, or one of them anyway, that should be genderless, colourless and geographically free. There's no harm in trying something, and as a listener, I am able to choose my preferred option. For example, I really love Procol Harem's A Whiter Shade of Pale but consider Annie Lennox's version as an inferior version. Cat Power's version of Sea of Love is amazing and I prefer it to Phil Phillips and the Twilights' version. Good music done badly just makes you want the better version, whilst good music done well, as Laurie does it, just makes you appreciate it more.

In summary, I'm pleasantly surprised by Hugh Laurie's album. It's instrumentally fantastic and his vocal ability, whilst not up there with the greats, adds a great deal of warmth and sincerity to the material. What shines through for me is that he really appreciates the music and in my opinion, there's a great many singers on the charts today who, although technically better singers, could take a leaf out of Hugh Laurie's book and learn to love music as opposed to using it as a money making venture.
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on 9 May 2011
Let them Talk is an album born of a personal passion for the Blues, and it's evident from the impressive opening of 'St James Infirmary' that Hugh Laurie is enjoying himself.

There's no denying he's a skilled pianist and he clearly isn't out of his depth surrounded by such notable musicians - all of whom play their socks off.
The 15 tracks on the album provide a pleasant mixture of material. If the saxed up Buddy Bolden's Blues or the moody 'Six Cold Feet' slow the tempo a little, there are several foot stomping tracks to follow, most notably the renditions of 'Swanee River' and 'Tipatina'.

I defy any of you to listen to these without tapping your foot.

Hugh Laurie's vocals are good he can certainly carry a tune - for any doubters it's clear on tracks such as 'The whale has Swallowed me' and 'The Battle of Jericho' that he can hold his own with little or no music accompaniment.

There will always be those who will question Hugh Laurie's credibility as "real" Blues Singer - some will see this as indulgent, others no doubt will bang on about class, background etc.
But let them talk ... I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album.

Hugh Laurie has had the chance to pay tribute to his musical heroes and if Let Them Talk introduces a new audience to Blues music then what a tribute that will be.
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on 20 June 2011
I'm impressed by the quality of the recording of these sessions and of course the musicianship is top drawer. The choice of tracks is brilliant and conveys HL's love of the genre very well.

My only concern is with his voice. Its more of an 'impression' of other singers than his own voice in my view. The Pseudo american accent is a little annoying and his vocal performance, is as you would expect from someone who hasnt recorded much before, a little amateurish

But all of that wont take away from my overall enjoyment of the album. Is it just a cash in on House? No of course not and HL has dont a lot here to open the genre to a wider audience for which he should be applauded.
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on 22 November 2011
I am not a musician nor do I understand technical sound details. I just know that I do love blues and this is truly the best buy or cluck for your buck in music if you like blues. I rarely buy music anymore since there is so much free music and I already have a lot. I am glad I purchased this and would buy more from Mr. Laurie. Most CD's are more than 10.00 US and I feel like it should be at least 20.00 US for the enjoyment I have had listening to the music and the variety it offers. I enjoy Mr. Laurie's piano style and that alone is worth the $10.00. In reading the enclosed leaflet about Mr. Laurie it was also entertaining, humorous and interesting. I highly recommend his style of music. If I wasnt so old I would start or join his fan club. A standing ovation to Mr. Laurie.
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on 26 December 2011
This album is so captivating that I can't get enough of it. Especially, this edition adds more amazing tracks such as Hallelujah, I Love Her So. I really love Hugh's version of this song. Last but definitely not least, this edition also has a very charming documentary narrated by Hugh Laurie. It's about his love of blues music. I can't stop smiling watching it. If you love blues music and Hugh Laurie, you can't miss this. It's a must have.
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on 9 May 2011
Music has been present in Hugh Laurie's career in some form or another since the days of "Fry & Laurie", even working its way into "House", the American television series that turned him into an international star in the 2000s.
Without "House", Laurie would never have been granted the opportunity to record an album like 2011's "Let Them Talk", a full-blooded immersion into American blues via New Orleans, shepherded by acclaimed roots producer Joe Henry and featuring such Big Easy heavy-hitters as Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and Irma Thomas.
To his enormous credit, Laurie never sounds like a dilettante/amateurish among this group: he holds his own, working his way into the marrow of the songs, playing credible piano throughout the record.
Which isn't to say that he quite makes this selection of standards his own, either.
There are reworkings and reinterpretations, "Tipitina" in particular being turned on its head, but the problem with "Let Them Talk" isn't the guts and blood of the music, or the slightly studious air Henry cultivates.
No, the problem is how Laurie's blues accent inevitably slides into affectations quite familiar from "House".
He can't help it, that's his American accent, but it's disarming to have a number cooking along and all of a sudden Princeton Plainsboro's favorite misanthrope has taken the lead.
S.T. Erlewine
Favourite tracks : "St. James Infirmary", "You Don't Know My Mind", and "Buddy Bolden's Blues".

The Allen Toussaint Collection
The River In Reverse
The Very Best of Dr. John
The Soul Queen Of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary Celebration
Other Side of Midnight:Live in New O
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on 29 August 2012
"Let them talk" is a superbly put-together collection of New Orleans music at its best. The Special Edition not only has a very well manufactured (in terms of audio quality) CD but also an accompanying DVD of Hugh Lawrie performing in a New Orleans club with a gamut of top-notch musicians (with Sir Tom Jones also making an appearance on one track). The first and foremost take-home message from listening to the CD is that Mr. Lawrie is an actor who can more than act: he succeeds in conveying to his listeners his immense and heart-felt affinity for New Orleans blues music, and he accomplishes this by performing superbly on the piano as he merrily belts out a series of classics that all will enjoy hearing again (and again). The second take-hme message, as far as I am concerned, is a lesson that CDs can still be made with sufficient care and attention to details so that the resulting sound quality is worthy of what a CD can intrinsically manage. Simply put, this CD is excellently produced and manufactured: kudos of the highest order to the sound engineers and mixers, to the producers, and to the manufacturer. Indeed the sound quality of the CD is, on many tracks, superior to that on the accompanying DVD (both played on a top-of-the-line Bose system). This comparison is, strictly speaking, not fair because the CD is studio recorded whereas the DVD is a live recording.

All in all, if you want a different but passionate and modern exposition of New Orleans music at its best, in sound quality of the very highest order, you will do no wrong in going for this Special Edition.

DM, from Mumbai in India
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on 19 October 2012
I like Hugh Laurie as an actor, Jeeves and Wooster in particular. I knew he had a good education and was accomplished on the piano, but this album put him right up there as a fine blues and Jazz musician, with a tinge of country thrown in for good measure.

The only downside for me, is his continued insistence on using an American accent, but he might see it as adding authenticity.

'Let Them Talk' may not be everybody's cup of tea, but if you like (delta) blues, swing Jazz going back to the early days, then you'll appreciate the work of Hugh Laurie.
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on 28 December 2011
An excellent product, with a beautiful DVD. As for the CD, be advised that it contains 3 new tracks that replace the bonus tracks of the deluxe CD. The missing tracks are Ain't Necessarily So, Lowdown Dirty And Blue and Guess I'm A Fool. I look forward to Hugh Laurie's next CD, as his mix of jazz and blues is perfect for late night driving...
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on 12 August 2012
It's Hugh Laurie with his own music selection, singing and occasionally playing the piano. If you know of Laurie's past, the album is exactly what you'd expect. And it's very good.

It has a New Orleans style throughout, although is distinctly bluesy rather than jazzy. A particularly good album to play in the car when on a long journey, because you can play it over and over (and thus not cause car crashes changing the CD) and let it go into the back of your mind while you're in your own thoughts.

Good selection of songs, especially the piano ones (although I'm biased). Not the best album in the world from the perspective of "all albums ever made", but that wasn't its purpose: Clearly, Laurie had a passion to write an album like this, he wrote it for himself in his own style, and he doesn't particularly care whether you like it or not. Give that it's by someone of the lofty heights of Laurie, though, it's not exactly going to be too bad.
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