The cynicism that greets most thespians’ musical side projects may not be as valid in the case of American TV’s current highest-paid actor. As acid-tongued Dr Gregory House, Laurie is frequently seen sat at a piano or picking up a guitar, as he has throughout his small screen career.
Jazz and blues were frequently targets for parodies and lightweight comic songs with Laurie’s old sparring partner Stephen Fry, but here he plays it straight on a succession of standards. Therein lies the kernel of a problem: Let Them Talk, while confidently played by a more than capable musician, is guilty of taking itself too seriously. This is a very earnest record indeed.
Still, there’s much to enjoy. The arrangements are bouncy and breezy, with Hugh giving the ivories a lusty hammering, especially on the boogie-woogified Swanee River and shuffling St James Infirmary. Laurie’s rigid and actor-ly voice is often the weak link, though, so it’s a relief when he’s helped out by the more characterful vocals of Dr John (After You’re Gone) and Irma Thomas (John Henry).