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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

This'll get everyone talking

Ordinarily I would never buy an album like this-celebrity records are usually nothing more than a novelty , but I kept reading good reviews of this blues album from Hugh Laurie. In the end the prospect intrigued me and after reading yet another five star review, I took the plunge and handed over my cash.

The contradiction of a white middle class man singing these songs that were born out of the struggles of the Southern blacks early in the last century, is not lost on Laurie. I was not born in Alabama in the 1890's, he writes in the sleeve notes. I've never eaten grits, cropped a share or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman attended my birth and there's no hellhound on my tail. I am a white, middle class Englishman openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American South.

The amazing thing is that the actor does this all so well and has produced a damn fine blues album. OK his vocal range may be limited but through a shrewd choice of songs and a great backing band he's come up with something quite essential. Opening track, St. James Infirmary, with its fine piano intro, sets the scene for a surprisingly authentic sounding blues set. And I defy anyone not to be moved by his reading of Six Cold Feet - it'll send shivers down your spine.

Below I have embedded a video of Laurie performing Swanee River, which is track 7 on this brilliant little blues album.

Prepare to be amazed.

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