Sound — 7
Hugh Laurie, most known for his role as Dr. House on the TV series "House," has a long musical history beginning with piano lessons as a child. Along the way Hugh Laurie added other instruments to his arsenal including guitar, harmonica, drums, and saxophone. Hugh Laurie became a member of an acting troupe (or club) in college, and this got into the realm of music, drama, comedy and all things in between. From there, he found other places to express himself musically, even playing guitar and organ occasionally on the TV show, "House." He played piano on the Meatloaf track "If I Can't Have You." He released his debut album in 2011, "Let Them Talk," which was primarily a blues album with various musical guests. "Didn't It Rain" is his sophomore release, and while it does continue to explore the blues it also goes into the realm of tango, jazz and R&B. "Didn't It Rain" contains 14 tracks and clocks in at approximately just under one hour. The album opens up with "The St. Louis Blues," which is a blues/jazz standard reinterpreted on the album (as are most of the tracks). "Junkers Blues" is the next track on the album, originally recorded by Champion Jack Dupree, and is faithful into the original but still managing to breathe some life into the track. The third track, "Kiss of Fire," is another classic track, originally made famous in 1952 by Georgia Gibbs. The fourth track, "Vicksburg Blues," is another blues standard with a male guest vocalist I'm guessing it is Taj Mahal, but I could be wrong. Next is "Weed Smoker's Dream," with a truly awesome vocal performance by who I believe is Gaby Moreno. "Wild Honey" is one of the most up-tempo songs on the album, and honestly I can't figure out where the song comes from, but I'm assuming it was written and originally performed a long time ago. I'm gonna skip ahead a little bit as you get the idea by this point. Hugh Laurie took some classic blues, jazz, R&B, etc., standards and did his interpretation of them. For what he is doing, he did a great job of it.
Lyrics — 9
Hugh Laurie provides vocals for a portion of the album, and has guest vocalists for other parts. Hugh's vocals are a nice match to the genres he explores. Some of the guest vocals provided are by Gaby Moreno, Jean McClain and Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, I have a digital copy of the album and have had a hard time finding the individual guests used on each song. I was especially impressed with the vocals on "The Weed Smoker's Dream," which was really reminiscent of Billie Holiday to me. I think the vocals on that specific track were performed by Gaby Moreno. Another track I was fixated on was "Vicksburg Blues," with the vocals performed by (I think) Taj Mahal. Really, the vocals range in quality from good to outstanding and there is nothing to complain about in this section.
Overall Impression — 7
Most of the album has a really chilled out feeling, like it just kind of ambles along. That isn't a bad type of vibe for a blues/jazz album to have. I found that I really enjoyed the album, and I also enjoyed going back and listening to some of the earlier recordings to the songs by other artists. At this point, Hugh Laurie has proven that he can play piano and guitar, and now I'd like to see him release an album of original material. So, that is what I'm waiting for a full album of Hugh Laurie original tracks. This album does stay enjoyable, however, and I could see myself throwing this album on really quick if I happened to be sitting around drinking and talking with friends or some other laid back social gathering type of scenario.