The River in Reverse

Trying to understand The New York Times’ effect on man, I wrote a profile of Mr. Hugh Laurie that appeared in this past Sunday’s edition of the paper (in the Magazine section). You might still have it by the side of your couch, or you can read it here. Laurie, aside from starring in House, has an album of New Orleans blues, Let Them Talk, which came out yesterday in the United States. Allen Toussaint did the horn arrangements for it, so I asked Laurie to tell me a Toussaint story.

“He was making a record with Elvis Costello, half of it in Los Angeles and half in New Orleans. A friend of mine knew Elvis and said, ‘Do you want to come along to the studio and listen to them play?’ They had a 13- or 14-piece band with a big horn section. Elvis sang, is it ‘Freedom of the Stallion’ or ‘Freedom for the Stallion’? [The latter–GE] Whatever, it’s a beautiful ballad. They’d done a couple of takes, and they both came into the control room to listen. Elvis said to Allen, ‘What did you think?’ Allen, who’s very gentle and professorial, said, ‘I think that at the end of the song, it should feel as if the voice has been lifted to heaven on the wings of the organ. The voice should be born aloft on just the organ.’ Elvis said to the engineer, ‘Allen thinks the organ should be louder.'”

posted 7 September 2011 in Articles, Outside and tagged , . 4 comments

4 Comments on The River in Reverse

  1. Chris M. Says:

    Apparently Elvis speaks Toussaint.

  2. Tom Nawrocki Says:

    You should have called this item “Toussaint’s Overture.”

  3. Gavin Says:

    !! Love that.

  4. Rule Forty Two - » Get a Tan From Standing in the English Rain Says:

    […] loves and proves to be a surprisingly fluent performer in. It’s been almost two years since I wrote a profile of Laurie for The New York Times Magazine (and almost seven years since I interviewed him for […]

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