Great Performances: Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk - A Celebration Of New Orleans Blues
Airs Friday, February 21, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
Originally published September 27, 2011 at 12:37 p.m., updated February 19, 2014 at 12:27 p.m.
“Swanee River” (Foster/Charles) - Hugh Laurie
“Baby What Do You Want Me to Do”/“You Got Me Running” (Jimmy Read) - Miss Lovell White & The Austin Blues Society Band
“You Don’t Know My Mind” (Williams/Gray/Liston) - Hugh Laurie
“You Don’t Know Me” (Walker/Arnold) - Lady on Guitar
“Copperhead Road” (Steve Earle) - Group Singing and Playing Guitars
“Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” (Moman/Emmons) - Group Singing and Playing Banjos/Guitars
“John Henry” (Traditional Arrangement – Chatman) - Hugh Laurie/Irma Thomas
“St. James Infirmary” (Traditional Arrangement – Primrose) - Hugh Laurie
“Buddy Bolden’s Blues” (Traditional Arrangement – Morton) - Hugh Laurie
“Baby Please Make A Change” (Mississippi Sheiks) - Hugh Laurie/Tom Jones/Irma Thomas
“Let Them Talk” - Hugh Laurie
“Tipitina” (Professor Longhair) - Hugh Laurie
Defying simple categorization, Laurie finds his greatest satisfaction and inspiration from the mixture of blues and jazz that grew out of New Orleans at the beginning of the last century. “Let Them Talk” is his personal journey into the heart and soul of that music.
Including documentary and interview segments during Laurie’s travels around the city, the program features his performances with blues legends Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas, as well as a fellow countryman similarly inspired by this uniquely American music, Sir Tom Jones.
With concert sequences filmed at the historic Latrobe’s building in the French Quarter, the musical selections include New Orleans blues standards along with some forgotten and neglected gems.
Laurie dubs the city “the most romantic place on earth” and observes that this is “a city that doesn’t fear death. It’s looked death in the eye.” This aspect is reflected in its music, he notes. “Death is the minor key. Life is the major key.”