Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hugh Laurie Down By The River

Hugh Laurie has come a long way since he was Stephen Fry's sidekick In Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Worster. He has somehow transformed himself into a US television superstar as the grumpy but sexy House. In ITV's Down By the River we saw yet another side of him - blues fan and a surprisingly good boogie woogie piano player. Hugh talked us through his lifelong love of blues, Professor Longhair and all things New Orleans on a road trip from Texas to the Big Easy with the help of some excellent camera work, background music from Longhair and a brief glimpse of Miss Lavell White.

Once in New Orleans he played a gig with Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and - for no apparent reason - Tom Jones, whilst recording an album of blues songs. As an introduction to a couple of New Orleans surviving greats, to the blues and to the city's musical tradition the programme worked well. And Hugh's love of the music could not be doubted. But I'm afraid that when it came to singing the blues Hugh would be well advised not to give up the day job. The programme will be available (in the UK only) for the next four weeks:

* A few deaths to catch up on: Dolores Fuller, who wrote Rock-a-Hula Baby and Do the Clam for Elvis, as well as appearing in some atrocious Ed Wood B-movies such as 'Glen or Glenda': Lloyd Knibb, drummer with the Skatalites (pictured): and Cornell Dupree, guitarist with the Atlantic backing band who played with Aretha Franklin, King Curtis and a host of jazzmen.


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