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Didn't It Rain ()

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His blues bona fides buttressed by his 2011 debut album Let Them Talk, Hugh Laurie returns with Didn't It Rain, another collection of jazz and blues standards, usually of the New Orleans variety but not always (his heart will sometimes stray to Kansas City), produced by Joe Henry. If Let Them Talk had a slightly burnished, rich veneer, Didn't It Rain is a bit lighter, with Laurie content to let himself slip into the background as both pianist and vocalist, which is odd as he has considerably fewer guests here than he did on his debut. Apart from Taj Mahal, this is pretty self-contained, Laurie playing the boogie with his band, sometimes lying back and letting his backing singers steal the spotlight, which they do with ease. Nobody is concerned with reinterpreting the songs or surprising a listener, they just want to enjoy re-creating sounds and tunes they've loved, an attitude that's rarely alienating although it's never quite infectious, either. All involved love the boogie and love the swing, happy to hit the accents hard and draw out the eighth notes, and if there's never a compelling reason to listen to Laurie and crew tackle these well-loved tunes, nobody involved embarrasses themselves, and it's a pretty enjoyable way to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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