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Lioness: Hidden Treasures Single
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Following her tragic passing in July, some of the producers and musicians who worked closely with Amy Winehouse, among them Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, spent time listening over the many recordings that Amy had made, before, during, and after the release of “Frank” and “Back To Black”. It was said by all who worked with Amy that she never sang or played a song the same way twice. It quickly became apparent to Salaam and Mark that they had a collection of songs that deserved to be heard, a collection of songs that were a fitting testament to Amy the artist and, as importantly, Amy their friend.
Amy Winehouse performed, wrote and lived with a seductive and startling blend of confidence and vulnerability. Her early death may not have been a huge surprise to anyone who had an interest in her life, but it shocked her beloved Camden and far beyond because she was one of us. She may have had an exquisite voice redolent of broken hearts and lost weekends, but even when Amy was selling millions of records she could be found shooting pool and downing drinks in north London pubs.
Less than six months after her premature passing, fans now have Lioness: Hidden Treasures to remind them of what they’re missing. This release comprises alternate takes, rarities and unreleased tracks, while regular collaborators like Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi have been involved with compiling the album. The question persists, though: would this material have surfaced if Amy had lived?
Jazz standard Body and Soul, recorded with Tony Bennett, has already been released on the latter’s September 2011 album Duets II, and as a single. It was Amy’s last recording, is beautifully produced and poignantly sung throughout. The same is true for covers of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and The Girl from Ipanema. The ’68 version of The Zutons cover Valerie is a languid shuffle compared to the energetic single release, and an earlier recording of Tears Dry on Their Own soothes but never catches fire like the version found on Back to Black.
Amy’s tender, torn and devastating voice always impressed on record, but it was her lyrics that really mattered. Like Smoke, an excellent collaboration with Nas, is calm but opens with a typically dramatic Amy line: "I never wanted you to be my man / I just needed comforting." Musically it’s a cousin of Fine Young Cannibals’ The Flame, while its blend of wry rapping and heartfelt nostalgia adds up to the best thing here.
Elsewhere, Between the Cheats, with its sad title, doo-wop melancholy and lines like "I would take a thousand thumps for my love," recalls the darkness in Amy’s life. Just as sorrow crept in to her best songs, cuts like You Know I’m No Good, it’s here in spades. But no one ever expected Walking on Sunshine from a woman who battled through troubled relationships and addictions so publicly.
In the end, the best a posthumous album assembled in this way can offer is a welcome and dignified reminder of an artist’s abilities. Lioness manages this, but also leaves listeners sadly wondering where a less-troubled Amy might have been able to take her incredible talent.
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Top Customer Reviews
What a fabulous voice, and how nicely this package is done. For me, on of the best albums of the year.
In the wrong hands, this might have been a slapdash collection, but "Lioness" is presented with genuine tenderness and it never paints Winehouse as a tragic diva stereotype.
The focus, quite rightly, is her vocal talent - not just its soulful power but also its stylistic range. And while there's an obvious melancholy in hearing Winehouse's tones again, there's also dreamy warmth, demonstrated by the opening reggae version of "Our Day Will Come" (originally by 1960s group Ruby & The Romantics Our Day Will Come: the Very Best of Ruby & the Romantics).
Some of these tracks predate Winehouse's 2003 debut album, "Frank": there's her jazzy teenage take on "The Girl From Ipanema" and the arguable stand-out, elegant original soul melody "Halftime" (dating back to 2002).
Her casual charm and command elevates the familiar covers, whether it's The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" or another reworking of The Zutons' "Valerie".
There are also curious collaborations: Like "Smoke" is infused with Nas's rap homage to his Camden 'homie', while Winehouse's final studio recording is "Body & Soul", a vintage jazz cut with 85 year old crooner Tony Bennett.
Essentially, the material on "Lioness" should have been a foundation, not a memorial, but it feels like a passionate affair.
The end notes are sweet, full of unmistakeable personality and resonance.Read more ›
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
It kicks off with one of the best songs on the album, a cover of a 60's soul classic "Our Day Will Come". It was recorded whilst Amy was living in the mediterranean, and the reggae/calipso influences come through strong, making the track unique and giving the album a distinct sound from her previous two.
"Between the Cheats" follows this, and was intended for Amy's third album. It is a 50's throwback track with the retro doo-wap sound that Amy loved so much. Her vocal here isn't the strongest on the album, and does sound incomplete, but this is understandable (it was just a demo) and even when Amy's only singing at 70% she still sounds fantastic. A really good, catchy track.
"Tears Dry". The original recording of what became a huge hit of the "Back to Black" album. Here the song is a smooth soul ballad, wheras the released version was an upbeat Motown-influenced track. It works really well in this original version, and is very pretty and also incredibly sad, with Amy's performance subtle but emotionally charged.
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" Amy's cover of this 60's classic is poignant and perhaps the best vocal on the album. This track was actually completed in an acoustic version, but here Mark Ronson gives it a 60's soul remix which works well with the rest of the album.
"Like Smoke" features rapper Nas and is a modern jazz tinged song with a rap chorus half way through.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Great cd & good music , a nice tribute to the late Amy Winehouse ,many thanks for a well packed item & fast delivery .Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Gift for someone, they liked it. I don't like Amy Winehouse particularly so 3 stars.Published 14 days ago by D. Cochrane
I wanted onr track 'Will you Still Love me Tomorrow' to use at our Golden Wedding party was perfectPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Love her voice, her remakes of Our Day Will Come and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow have very quickly become two of my all time favourite tracks. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alan Trivette
very different from the back to black album. This album highlights the style of songs that Amy really loved.Published 2 months ago by Siobhan