Amy Winehouse At The BBC
is a four-disc collection chronicling the many remarkable performances by Amy Winehouse for the BBC. Spread across three DVDs and one CD, this comprehensive collection captures the strong and enduring relationship that Amy enjoyed with the BBC.
The special edition box set includes Amy’s earliest BBC Radio sessions, her first ever TV performances, as well as candid interviews, rarely seen footage, unheard gems, rarities, unique covers and live versions of classic songs from Frank
and Back To Black
. The set also includes a beautifully illustrated booklet featuring rare photographs, a deeply touching appreciation from her friend, rap superstar Nas, extensive sleeve notes by the Sunday Times Culture’s Dan Cairns as well as the thoughts of BBC producer Mark Cooper who worked closely with Amy on many of the highlights of the set.
Disc 1 is a DVD selection of recordings chosen by Later presenter, songwriter and musician Jools Holland, Disc 2 is a 14-song audio selection dating from 2004 to 2009, while Disc 3 features Amy’s memorable Porchester Hall sessions. “Amy Winehouse – The Day She Came to Dingle” (Disc 4), perhaps the centrepiece of the box set, is a short film featuring a fascinating interview with the artist intercut with Amy, at the height of her powers, delivering an electrifying 20 minute live performance recorded in December 2006 in a tiny church.
In her tragically short career, Amy Winehouse filmed and recorded many sessions for the BBC. Enough to ensure that this release – available as a single CD and DVD set, and as a box-set comprising three DVDs and one CD – stands as an alternative Best Of, showcasing her skills as a live performer.
In case anyone was left in any doubt, the CD featuring 14 performances proves, again, that we have lost the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation. Compiled from performances at festivals and recordings specifically for TV and radio dating from 2004 to 2009, these gems also prove that Winehouse’s voice did not decline gradually, even as addictions were taking control of her life and taking their toll on her fragile body.
The two finest tracks here date from 2009. Just Friends is performed in that late-60s rocksteady reggae style that she and her excellent band perfected. It’s followed by a stripped-down take on Love Is a Losing Game, in which Amy picks through the rubble of broken love like a child through a bombsite, but with an entirely adult sense of timing and emphasis that evinces her growing power as an interpretive vocalist.
These recordings contrast perfectly with the grandstanding, acid-jazzish performances from 2004, when she was still young and carefree enough to want to show off. By 2009, her only desire was to serve the emotional devastation of her words.
The set ends with an intimate 2006 version of To Know Him Is to Love Him, The Teddy Bears’ classic that provided one of the inspirations for the modernised girl-group soul of Back to Black. From Amy’s mouth, a teen melodrama becomes a quietly wracked testament to her masochistic relationship with love – a trait that played every bit as much of a part in her downfall as drugs or booze.
It is beautiful and bereft and hard to listen to with easy joy – as are much of the best of these essential recordings.
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window