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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2011
First thing I noticed about this Album was the fact that it was just thirty-five minutes long - a plus for me, since I'm so tired of over-long and boring Albums geared to make us think we are getting more for our money... (more rubbish perhaps!) This Album does anything but bore the Listener, and Amy Winehouse certainly knew the key was to have short bursts of quality instead of 'gimmicky' over-long trash!

Like many I suppose, I am not ashamed to say I purchased this Album since her death - but not for that reason alone; I had in fact been on the point of purchasing it for some time, but her constant feature in the News for all the wrong reasons, I guess I held off. However; as the saying goes; something good always comes out of something tragic, and I imagine that there will be many more who did not know or appreciate Amy until her untimely death... Packed with eleven great catchy numbers which simply spell 'talent', 'quality' and 'pure listening pleasure'.

As someone old enough to recall several decades of different styles of music; I feel Ms. Winehouse probably born out of her time. Her sound and style would have been perfectly at home had she been around during both the sixties and the seventies - proper songs with choruses and verses, and with some just over a couple of minutes in length - lovely - and just how I like it!

At just half an hour- this Album is utterly perfect and will be played often by many!

God Bless Amy.
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VINE VOICEon 28 November 2007
Amy Winehouse never appeared on my radar, but she now has a place on my favourites list via this album. Quite simply, this is an excellent album - a stew of Soul/old school R&B, jazz, rock and old fashioned pop.

Rehab was the song that prompted me to listen to AW, and it is one of the best here, but there's other tracks as good - in particular, "You Know That I'm No Good" and "Tears Dry On Their Own", which uses the intro form Marvin Gaye's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". My own personal favourite has become "Love Is A Losing Game" a restrained and aching vocal over a spare orchestral track.

All in all,Amy's vocal performance is never less than impressive, interpreting the equally impressive material perfectly. With this 2 disc special edition, there's the addition of the excellent version of "Valerie", which has been released as a single, plus the reggae infused "Cupid" and others, as well as alternate versions of the albums original tracks, all of which just add to the view that Amy is a major talent. I just hope she can get back to making great music after her well publicised recent problems.
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on 8 November 2007
Now I love the Winehouse - as much a description as it is a name these days - and I think 'Back To Black' is a fantastic modern soul record that I would not hesitate to award five stars. Amy's voice sounds phanominal on her second album and Mark Ronson's production - despite, as we have seen with his own album 'Versions', adding horns to things being the only thing he can do - brings these wonderful songs to life. But when the major labels start reissueing deluex/ultimate/limited/+DVD editions of successful abums it makes me despare, especially as this new version is so damn amazing! I love Winehouse's take on 'Valerie', and I've seen her perform 'Monkey Man' on television and that was great too, as is everything she does.

Granted, 'Back To Black' couldn't have been released like this a year ago, but why couldn't there have been another version with just the bonus disc and the sexy sexy packaging - for about £7 - then fans who bought the album when it first came out aren't being ripped off? I'll tell you why, because that's not the way to make money. Editions like this are proof that the only thing the big labels care about is empying our wallets.

If you don't own 'Back To Black', then do yourself a favor and get this Deluxe Edition, it's too awesome not to be bought! HOWEVER, having said that, if like me you've already owned the album for nearly a year, then don't you even dare touch that wallet sunshine; consider it a partial boycott! It wouldn't have taken much to release two versions of this, one with and one without the original album, or perhaps the bonus disc could have been included with the DVD (also out in time for Christmas folks).
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on 22 March 2007
I borrowed this CD from my daughter for a car journey. I had almost dismissed it from the start thinking that the generation gap was probably a mile long! Was I ever so wrong! Man! From the first note to the last I was enveloped in such a rich sound, I hadn't heard anything like this for years. First up, the band sound like they've been playing for years, wow what lush arrangements! The backing singers...fantastic! Then to top it all, here comes Amy! I know absolutely nothing about Amy aside from the fact that she likes a good drink and had a brawl off camera on the Jules Holland show. That voice...I was in seventh heaven with this CD. My God, I'm going to have to listen to more of my daughter's taste in music!
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on 4 January 2007
I cannot rave enough about this album - it's the most refreshing thing you will listen to this year. Amy Winehouse takes a traditional music form and makes it her own (with the help of a group of very talented musicians). At first listen you find elements of jazz, reggae and soul and by the second, the incisive lyrics sink in and you realise this is a very modern woman's world. By the time you've listened to it the third time (and become completely addicted) you realise that every story she tells is way older than the style of music it is put to. This album oozes sexiness without losing any of the lyrical genius - this girl deserves to be big. Buy this album and play it a lot!
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on 4 February 2008
As another reviewer said - Amy Winehouse hadn't even appeared on my radar. I think all of the hype and gossip put me off listening out for her music. I looked at her and expected that it just wouldn't be my thing (thats what middle age does!)! I heard this album when it was given as a gift to my husband and from first listening, it just blew me away. She is truly out of her time. If she is similar to anyone, its Billie Holiday. No disrespect to Billie (I haven't listened to a lot of her stuff), but Amy's voice seems to me stronger and more versatile. There are also shades of soul and a sprinkle of motown in there.

I listen to this album again and again and never tire of it. Its sexy, powerful, uplifting, moving - it does it all. Any substance misuse problems Amy has are surely her own business and nothing to do with the music. Also lets face it, there is nothing unusual about great talents having such problems - another thing Amy and Billie have in common.
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on 21 September 2007
There is probably very little I can contribute to the reviews of this superlative album that hasn't already been said, but I adore 'Back to Black' so much that I couldn't resist adding my voice to the crowd. So here goes...

It's not unusual for me to come across an album I find enjoyable - excellent, even. Nor is it out of the ordinary for me to listen to a set of tracks over and over again, and recommend them to everyone I know. What IS uncommon is the discovery of a record that I honestly believe is destined to be regarded as a classic, that will be listened to and revered for many years to come. Amy Winehouse's second collection of songs is such an album; and what's more, I won't qualify that statement with an 'in my view' because I believe it to be fact, not opinion.

Nearly every track is good enough to stand on its own as a single. Everyone's heard the ubiquitous 'Rehab', but there's much more to this album than that (admittedly brilliant) song. The title track is a bitter, broken-hearted anthem. 'Love is a Losing Game' is exquisite and poetic. 'Wake Up Alone' is similarly beautiful, evocative, and passionate. Even less meaningful tracks, like 'Addicted', are brimming with honesty, attitude and bittersweet humour. The lyrics are incredible - I don't think I've ever come across any artist able to articulate the pain of loss and love so perfectly. The production is second to none; the album has a Motown-influenced, 1960s-girl-group sound, but it's all still unmistakeably 'now', and the result is a record that sounds like it will never date. The soulful style suits Winehouse's magnificent, unrivalled voice perfectly.

It's almost a year since this album was released, and there's been nothing to better it since; it's testament to its power that Winehouse's much-publicised personal traumas haven't prevented her music achieving endless accolades. 'Back to Black' is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it's most definitely a record that everyone should have in their collection. If you don't yet own it and you're still reading this, what are you waiting for? Buy it!
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Amy’s second and final album release in 2006 signalled her moving on from the jazzy debut ‘Frank’ and embracing a more R&B style to appeal to a wider mainstream audience. The resulting overall sound resembles the Motown/soul era of the 1960s and 70s with brass, strings and backing vocals later added to the basic rhythm section by producers Ronson & Remi. The album was a deserved Grammy winner and remains Amy’s defining work, containing five songs destined to become hit singles.

In addition to the 11 songs on the 2006 album, the 2007 ‘deluxe edition’ includes a bonus disc of extra tracks and performances in front of a live-audience.

What’s special about B to B? The overall sound is intentionally retro, but Winehouse’s edgy, often explicit lyrics are delivered with artistry, a brash, sassy urban confidence and rare mastery of her chosen style. She broke new ground in popular music which opened the door to a host of style-imitators: Adele, La Roux, Little Boots and a host of others. But B to B is the original style-defining musical statement, and will always be a classic.

RIP Amy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 December 2006
Amy Winehouse appeared at the Brecon Jazz festival a few years ago and sadly although I was there that year, I missed the chance to see her live. With this new album she moves the goalposts from Jazz to Soul and what a triumph it is.

If you like Motown or 60's soul with an occasional hint of doo-wop you are going to love this. Brassy (literally - Sax, Trumpet etc) sometimes funky, with Amy's expressive vocals singing her own earthy lyrics this is a classic album and undoubtably the best I have heard this year, regardless of style. The single 'Rehab' and 'Me & Mr Jones' are the stand-out tracks for me.

As previous reviewers have noted it is short (35 mins) so I have docked it a star, but there is no filler on this album and I recommend it strongly.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2006
Having grown to love the exquisite sweet-sour cocktail jazz of Frank, I was almost in trepidation to hear what Amy Winehouse had delivered more than 3 years after her legendary debut album. Gone soul, said the reviews, but just as frank as ever.

After 3 days of playing the new album non-stop in my car, I'm delighted to report that Amy is none the worse for her soul 'n' ska trip, though I do miss the jazzy bits. Parts of Back to Black almost stand as a 60s Motown album, had Phil Spector been allowed out of prison to help with the production. Amy nods to her influences, even calling one track 'Me and Mr Jones' after the great Billy Paul number. The melodies are often delicate and delicious, the doo-wop harmonies and horns vintage, and Miss W is in fine voice, her Marlboro & whisky-stained vocals just adding a tart and sassy edge to counteract the melodic sweetness, which in some hands might have become cloying and sickly.

However, she remains however distinctly larger than life - the lyrics, thoughtfully printed here on the inner sleeve, would have been censored within seconds, had anyone ventured to write them in the 60s, Her life is so completely within the public domain you wonder what secrets the poor girl has retained, but on the evidence of her output to date the only thankless task is that of being her current boyfriend - they receive short shrift and withering contempt!

This is a fine collection, well worthy of its excellent predecessor. I just wish her influences could expand beyond the medium to become a unique Winehouse style rather than apeing other styles, no matter how well it's done. No doubt that will come in time...
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