Release Date: Aug 6, 2013
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Blues, Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Stage & Screen
When actors (especially those with a Capital A) wake up one morning and decide that their multimillion-dollar onscreen careers would be worthless without a hit pop single, the results tend to lean toward being both disappointing and predictable (ditto for athletes who insist on scratching the same type of itch). That’s not to say the equation doesn’t go both ways, of course—try as he may, it’s still tough to watch Justin Timberlake moonwalk his way from stages to screens. It’s just to say that for whatever indecipherable reasons, the most prominent formula within this niche usually goes like this: 1) Actor turns to music.
Hugh LaurieDidn't It Rain[Warner Bros; 2013]By Ray Finlayson; May 10, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetFor anyone who has been following Hugh Laurie through his career, the news back in 2011 that he was set to release an album shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Laurie has always been openly musical, and fortune had it that in his most famous roles on television he was able to let this show. In his most famous role as Dr.
Though Americans know Hugh Laurie as the cane-twirling, Sherlockian M.D. from House, British audiences and early-'90s PBS devotees will remember him as the immaculately empty-headed straight man on Fry & Laurie and Jeeves & Wooster, in which Laurie performed music-hall spoofs on piano, singing with an OxBridge polish and a set of jazz chops that managed to play as effortless. Followers of his vaudeville-tinged career may be surprised by how long Laurie waited to record his first album, 2011's Let Them Talk, and his sophomore effort, Didn't It Rain, is similarly filled with straight-faced American blues with a tilt toward the Crescent City.
When Hugh Laurie began his foray into American blues a couple of years ago, many an eyebrow was raised. He clearly wasn’t doing it for the money (as his time on House came to an end he was the highest paid actor on television, trousering a six-figure sum per episode), so what was the point? Quite simply, because he could and, if it failed, his career would not be wrecked. As it happened, Let Them Talk was a surprise hit for both critics and fans alike and the success of that album has paved the way for a follow-up, Didn’t It Rain, featuring more interpretations of blues standards from the likes of WC Handy and Jelly Roll Morton among many others.
His blues bona fides buttressed by his 2011 debut album Let Them Talk, Hugh Laurie returns with Didn't It Rain, another collection of jazz and blues standards, usually of the New Orleans variety but not always (his heart will sometimes stray to Kansas City), produced by Joe Henry. If Let Them Talk had a slightly burnished, rich veneer, Didn't It Rain is a bit lighter, with Laurie content to let himself slip into the background as both pianist and vocalist, which is odd as he has considerably fewer guests here than he did on his debut. Apart from Taj Mahal, this is pretty self-contained, Laurie playing the boogie with his band, sometimes lying back and letting his backing singers steal the spotlight, which they do with ease.