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Lioness: Hidden Treasures Single

4.5 out of 5 stars 481 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Dec. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Island Records
  • ASIN: B00622FQMC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (481 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 734 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

BBC Review

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.

--Lou Thomas

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am 76 years of age. This is one of the best CDs I have had the pleasure to own. It reminds me of the talents of Dinah Washington but is totally Amy Winehouse. The joy is tainted by great sadness. What a great loss. Oh Amy, if only someone could have helped you.
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Format: Audio CD
I just listened to this album for the first time. I'm perhaps not what you might call a regular fan, although I already had Frank, Back to Black and her iTunes festival EP, but I found this collection stunning.
What a fabulous voice, and how nicely this package is done. For me, on of the best albums of the year.
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Format: Audio CD
"Lioness" consists of 12 previously unreleased archive recordings and alternate takes, compiled by long-time friends and producers including Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, in the wake of her death this July, aged just 27.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Even though I am an Amy fan I feel I shall have to assume to role of Devil's Advocate. I bought this album in good faith, with the understanding that like so many other posthumous releases it may be a little raw. I think Mitch Winehouse's assertion, that it stood comparison with her two previous releases: Frank and Back To Black while understandable, was inaccurate. For a start Lioness: Hidden Treasures was only partially Amy's work. She was both a prodigy and a perfectionist and I simply do not feel this album would have been up to her exacting musical standards. Our Day Will Come was a genuinely plesant surprise as were the original version of Tears Dry and Wake Up Alone. The rest of it was O.K but I found the overly elaborate arrangement on Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? and A Song For You, actually detracted from her vocal. If Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi had decided to keep it simple and allowed her voice to shine, conceeding that this is a DEMO album I think I would have enjoyed it for what it was. The fact is Amy decided against releasing these songs because SHE wasn't satisfied with them. Amy wrote in a very autobiographical and narrative style, her two previous albums had a linear chronology which was lacking in this release. It feels like what it is, an assortment of the producers favourite demos selected from several years of accumulated material. Not being an executive at Island records I have no idea if Amy had assembled the skeleton of a brand new album or if she simply recorded what she felt like, when she was feeling up to it. To draw a comparison with another artist, Buddy Holly died in an accident at the peak of his powers, leaving a number of impressive demos which were later polished up and released to general acclaim.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The posthumously released ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ contains 12 previously unreleased archive recordings selected by producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi. It was released in December 2011, timed for the first Christmas season following Amy’s death.

While this collection does not claim or pretend to be Amy’s ‘third album’, it’s more than just barrel-scrapings of unreleased bits and pieces and does gel together as a listenable whole. A few of the recordings are true vintage and pre-date the ‘Frank’ sessions, notably a slightly over-the-top rendition of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ completely absent the mellow vibe of Jobim & Gilberto’s original, and Amy’s own early composition ‘Half Time’ from 2002.

Standout tracks are Amy’s ‘Between the Cheats’ confessing her infidelity in song, a stripped-down and frankly superior alternate take of ‘Valerie’, a magnificent cover of Garson & Hillard’s ‘Our Day will Come’ and a duet with Amy’s 85-year old jazz icon Tony Bennett ‘Body & Soul’.

So overall this is a fine collection of leftovers, selected and produced with care and skill by Ronson and Remi. While not quite up to the overall high standard of ‘Frank’ or 'Back to Black’ it’s more than just OK and a fitting tribute to a great jazz talent. What a pity Amy didn’t have a more positive attitude to rehab; she might still be with us and have had a singing career as long and successful as her idols Sinatra and Bennett.
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