Top positive review
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Amy shoulda gone to rehab, I say yes, yes, yes
on 11 September 2016
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.