The Blues (Episode 1 of 6). Hugh Laurie presents this new series in which he examines the ways in which the blues has influenced all the types of popular music that we listen to today. Each week he'll be playing a song with his acclaimed Copper Bottom Band and using that as a starting point from which to explore the permutations and permeations of the music that he loves. Launching the series, Hugh plays and sings Alan Price's "Changes", written in 1973 for the Lindsay Anderson film "O Lucky Man" and explains how that links a World War 1 protest song, a Presbyterian hymn and a Nashville country instrumental before going on to look at the evolution of the blues itself. Starting with the primitive country blues of Robert Johnson and Charley Patton, Laurie traces the changes in the music through the electric Chicago period of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, the soul and rock influences of the 1960s to the blues as we know it today.
Rock 'n' Roll (Episode 2 of 6): This week, Hugh plays and sings "Mystery Train" and traces its roots back to an Elizabethan folk ballad and an early 20th century country song before looking at how its influenced the world of rock'n'roll, with music from Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Lonnie Donegan, Led Zeppelin and more.
Soul & Hip Hop (Episode 3 of 6): This week, Hugh plays and sings "Stagger Lee", explaining its roots in a real 19th century murder. That starts a complicated trail of gossip, political scandal, and folk lore which leads through the music of James Brown, Lloyd Price, The Clash, Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Kanye West to show how the spirit of Stagger Lee still influences the soul and hip hop that we listen to today.
Jazz (Episode 4 of 6): This week, Hugh plays and sings "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)", and looks at the blues strain in jazz music, illustrated with music from Miles Davis, Kid Ory, Duke Ellington and more.
Pop Music (Episode 5 of 6) This week, Hugh plays and sings "Careless Love", and looks at the blues strain in pop music, somehow managing to link Johnny Ray with the Shangri-Las and Jilted John along the way!
Country (Episode 6 of 6) This week, in the last of the series, Hugh plays and sings "Crazy Arms", and looks at the relationship between blues and country with music from the likes of Hank Williams and George Jones.