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Customer Review

on December 5, 2011
"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. A Haider

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