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Humbling Jazz & Raw Talent.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures - Amy Winehouse
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Lioness: Hidden Treasures - Amy Winehouse
Advantages: Outstanding music & great duets.
Disadvantages: It's Amys last album.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures by Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse will be remembered for many things; her soulful and distinctive singing voice, her incredibly successful music career, her wild lifestyle choices and sadly her untimely death on the 23rd of July 2011, just to name a few. Amy became a member of the famous "27 club" when her life was tragically cut short, leaving behind devastated family, friends and many fans worldwide. Amy became famous for her unique and distinctive sound, creating music that was a mixture of R&B, jazz and soul. Amy found international success with her second album Back to Black, a batch of successful singles led her to huge fame and her career very quickly took off. Despite her fortunate success, Amy led a troubled life, battling with drug and alcohol addiction causing her to spin out of control and her music to take a back seat. Amy's fans, however, remained supportive and longed for the day that they would see her return fit and well to make the most of the incredible talent that she had been given.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures was released on the 2nd of December 2011. The album is a collection of unreleased songs and demos by Winehouse, which have been compiled by her music partners and family. The album debuted at number 1 in the UK album charts, selling enough records to make it one of the fastest selling albums of 2011. £1 from every sale of the album goes to The Amy Winehouse Foundation. This charity was set-up in Amy's memory to help support young people, who are for whatever reason disadvantaged in some way, to lead happier and healthier lives. The album has had rave reviews and has been labelled as "bewitching" and "a vivid snapshot of her clear talent". The album is quite heartbreaking to listen to due to the tragic circumstances surrounding it but it cannot be denied that in each song Amy's effortless and raw talent shines through, making it a pleasure to hear. Amy's style of music and her influence on music is timeless and stunning and this album is a very fitting dedication to the amazing artist.
Track 1: Our Day Will Come
The album starts with a distinctive, upbeat track which has a catchy instrumental behind it. The song was written by Bob Hilliard and Mort Garson and was originally a number 1 hit for Ruby & The Romantics back in 1963. The song has a reggae-tinted beat and is rich in Amy Winehouse's style and personality with her incredible voice singing those words 'Our day will come'. This song was released as a single at about the same time as the albums release and was Amy's first solo release since 2007!
Track 2: Between The Cheats
This song starts with somebody whistling a bit of a tune and then a bass guitar and drums come in to be joined by a saxophone a few moments later. The overall feel of the song is very old school; it has an incredibly timeless sound to it. I find some of the lyrics on the verses difficult to understand but the chorus is much clearer as there are backing vocals.
Track 3: Tears Dry (Original Version)
This is the original ballad version of the well known song 'Tears Dry On Their Own' which featured on Amy's album Back to Black. Amy wrote and composed this track, displaying her incredible musical talent. I have always loved this song; I definitely do prefer the Back to Black version to this ballad however, it is still lovely to listen to. I love the lyrics of this song; I think that they are original and very inventive.
Track 4: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (2011)
This is a classic song which has been recorded by many people over the years. It was originally recorded by The Shirelles in 1960 and was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Amy originally recorded this song for the soundtrack of the movie, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason in 2004. Amy's version is very subtle and emotional with a slow tempo jazz arrangement and breathtaking vocals.
Track 5: Like Smoke feat. Nas
There is nothing better than two individual artists from different musical genres coming together to create outstanding music. Nas sounds fantastic on this track with Amy's voice in the background. Hip-hop fits in perfectly with this upbeat jazz track, making it one of the best collaborations I have ever heard.
Track 6: Valerie ('68 Version)
Originally, a song by The Zutons, this is the Amy Winehouse version of Valerie that was not played. This version of the song is classic, soft, and barely recognisable next to the overplayed, pop, karaoke track that the Mark Ronson version of the song turned into. This song will go down as an Amy Winehouse classic and I am glad that this version of it has been shared with her fans.
Track 7: The Girl From Ipanema
This is a cover of an old track from the 60s which comes under the genre of bossa nova. Amy's version of the song definitely keeps that latino-jazz vibe but she puts more of her own sound on the song with her famous 'dah-bee-dahs'. Not one of my favourite songs on the album but still good.
Track 8: Half Time
This is an unreleased track by Amy and it is simply stunning. A smooth jazz ballad which takes you away from everyday stress and to a calm place. Definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album! As the opening lyrics say 'The simple sweet guitar, humbled by the bass, when the beat kicks in, everything falls into place'.
Track 9: Wake Up Alone
This is another original recording of a Back to Black track. The song has quite a sombre topic and feel to it with quite sad instrumentals. I do like this song but I think I prefer the other version.
Track 10: Best Friends, Right?
This song starts with an acoustic guitar and the lyric 'I can't wait to get away from you'. The song is about a love-hate relationship and it covers resentment and being best friends at the same time. The song is very enjoyable to listen to and Amy's voice is just incredible.
Track 11: Body And Soul with Tony Bennett
I remember hearing this track and seeing the video for it shortly after Amy died. This song was her last ever recording in 2011 and was originally recorded for Tony Bennett's album Duets II. As this is her last ever recording it is quite sad to listen to. The song was released as a single from the album and the video is of Amy and Tony recording the song in a studio. Amy looks well, a lot better than she has in previous years which makes it all so much more unfortunate. This song is an amazing duet and the chemistry between the 2 artists is lovely.
Track 12: A Song For You
The final track on the album is a recording of a very famous song which Amy did in 2009. This song has been covered so many times by so many artists; it was originally written and released by Leon Russell in 1970. The song starts with an incredible piano intro and then the beat kicks in. It is a fantastic jazz track with all that Amy Winehouse style, a high note to the end the album on.
From start to finish this album is flawless. It is an outstanding collection of original songs and covers. I have always enjoyed Amy Winehouse's music but I wouldn't say that I was a huge fan, until listening to this. There was something very special hidden in Amy Winehouse's voice, an explosion of soul and she is a great loss to the music industry. Amy will be remembered as a music genius and with albums like this it is clear to see why. I don't really have a favourite song on this album as they all stand out to me as brilliant tracks. I could listen to them all repeatedly and not get bored with any of them. Unfortunately Amy was taken far too soon but her fans can continue to enjoy her music for years to come thanks to albums like this.
I would definitely recommend this album to anyone, it would be hard not to love this incredible collection of songs.
The album can be downloaded from iTunes for £8.99.
Rest In Peace Amy Winehouse & long live your music.
Thank you for reading : )
Review also on Ciao under luceey.
Summary: A wonderful dedication to one of the most influential and talented British artists of our time.