On the back of his 2011 album Let Them Talk and an enthralling TV special trawling through the music vaults of America's southern states, actor Hugh Laurie is back with an outstanding new release.
On Didn't It Rain, Laurie revisits his theme of exploring jazz classics, with the legendary Joe Henry in the producer's seat.
He surrounds himself with a bunch of sassy musicians, and contributes the piano, Wurlitzer and guitar along with his vocals.
The song choices are fantastic, and their delivery is quirky and engaging. There's WC Handy's St Louis Blues; a compelling version of the tune that Laurie's hero Champion Jack Dupree made his own, Junker's Blues; Taj Mahal lends a hand on Little Brother Montgomery's Vicksburg Blues with a tilt to Doctor John on Wild Honey.
Bessie Smith enters the picture when Laurie covers Take Me to the Electric Chair, and one of my all-time favourites leaps out of the speakers in Careless Love. For Changes, Laurie jumps forward in time to the Animals' incredible pianist Alan Price.
This is a very classy set of songs, illustrating that Laurie has what it takes as a musician if his day job doesn't work out.
Didn't It Rain
Rating: 4 / 5