ACTOR turned blues singer Hugh Laurie excels with his second album ‘Didn’t It Rain’ – a successful follow up to his million selling debut album ‘Let Them Talk’.
Based on these 13 catchy numbers it’s fair to say the former Dr House is in rude health and captures the spirit of the American Blues scene perfectly.
There is a more of a Latin feel to some of the tracks especially the opening to The St Louis Blues where if you shut your eyes you almost feel like you are in a taverna in Buenos Aires.
While that builds into a rousing opening to the album, Junkers Blues immediately slows the pace down as Laurie tells the tale of an addict.
My personal favourite is the rather sultry and seductive Kiss of Fire featuring the wonderful Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno.
Again the song begins with a distinctive Latin flavour before Laurie’s dulcet tones are added to produce a delightful piece which will have you tapping your feet.
The rest of the album is very much Hugh Laurie and friends as he takes slightly more of a back seat by leaving some of the vocals to others.
Taj Mahal sings on Little Brother Montgomery’s Vicksburg Blues, while Jean McClain sings on St. Louis Blues, as well as `Send me to the ‘lectric chair’ and Jelly Roll Morton’s `I Hate A Man Like You’.
When you are listening you do yearn for a bit more of Laurie’s voice but on the other hand you get the impression Didn’t it Rain is very much a collaboration.
Whatever worked was included on the album, what did not wasn’t – in terms of a selection you have to give Laurie and producer Joe Henry an A*.
It is perfect for those days when you want something nice and chilled to listen to whilst relaxing and is a total break from much of what I would normally buy.
Yes, there is less Hugh and more friends, but the end result is pure toe-tapping, smiling fun.