Genuineness, that’s what I go for…

Perusing around Fopp, just off Charring Cross Road, I noted Hugh Laurie has a new “blues” album out. Each to their own I suppose, but such efforts always remind me of this wonderfully cutting comedic caveat from the much-missed George Carlin. Replace his use of the word “white” with “Hugh Laurie” and it’s nigh-on a perfect fit.

Genuineness, that’s what I go for. Do white people have a right to play the blues? Obviously. Can white people even play the blues? A resounding YES! Keith Jarrett’s encore on the solo Paris album is just one example of laying that bullshit to rest, although I do prefer his rawer earlier improvised lines than his post-classical expedition output, circa the eighties. Does anyone have a right to play whatever type of music they wish? Of course. Do I have to listen to it? Celebrate it? Or even just stay silent over my contempt? No. An Eton and Cambridge educated, multi-millionaire thespian singing a song which happens to have a 12-bar blues chord structure is naturally dismissible to my ears as a BLUES, even if Graham Norton does plug it. If you were to forward to 6’19” in the Norton clip (from 2011, when Hugh was plugging his last effort), you’d hear Laurie sing this line…

“She won’t cook my dinner, won’t wash my clothes, won’t do nothing but walk the road…”

I assume he’s talking about his house-keeper?

Genuineness, that’s what I go for. Hugh Laurie’s sound/intonation/delivery is weak. He wouldn’t get a record deal if his names wasn’t Hugh Laurie. I’d even go as far to say it’s all a bit of a joke. If he really dug football, for as long and with as much passion as his love for the blues, and he fancied himself as a bit of a player, would he have channeled his efforts/money/personnel/connections into trying to break into a professional side? I’m sure QPR would have taken him on, but still?! His attempt to earn a crust as a blues performer is both egocentric and undermining to his musical heroes.

Genuineness, that’s what I go for. Talking of shit voices, here’s an example of how an experience of social-struggle, unrestrained artistic belief, uber confidence, and a genuine witty bravado can heighten even the most grating/nasally/whiney of tones…

John Lydon knows he should be on that stage, Hugh Laurie obviously doesn’t (you can tell he’s not 100% comfortable), and quite frankly he shouldn’t. But if you really have to put yourself in the spotlight, entertain for fuck’s sake, don’t just feed the sixth-from, dormitory ego.

 

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About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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