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CD: Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures

CD: Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures

A patchy epilogue from one of Britain's finest ever vocal talents

Winehouse's posthumous album is decent, but it's not the real Amy

Let’s hope that the first posthumously released Amy Winehouse album is also the last; not because it’s in any way bad – actually it’s a pretty decent collection of songs from throughout her career – but because “pretty decent” is about as good as it gets. After this, if there’s anything left, it will surely only be the sound of a barrel being scraped.

Assembled by Winehouse producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, it’s a patchwork of alternative versions, some newer stuff, some bits and bobs, plus her famous duet from earlier this year with Tony Bennett. What shines through immediately – and this was also evident to anyone who saw her live – is that even when she wasn’t trying very hard, she was still a cracking singer; her floaty phrasing on an early version of “Tears Dry” is effortless, her timbre on the Bennett duet, “Body and Soul”, brings to mind Ella or Billie.

What shines through immediately is that even when she wasn’t trying very hard, she was still a cracking singer

She makes a good job of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, and even breathes fresh life into “The Girl From Ipanema” (recorded when she was 18). Less impressive is her version of the Leon Russell classic (in turn made famous by Donny Hathaway) “A Song for You”. This was recorded with just a guitar at home in 2009, but Salaam Remi has seen fit to add in the whole band thing, complete with introductory rain-on-the-windows soundtrack. It’s all a bit overdone, and Winehouse’s vocal is, even by her standards, slurr-y.

So is this, as her father Mitch claims, “a fitting tribute to Amy’s musical legacy”? I think not; for that, you need go no further than Frank and Back to Black. This, in comparison, is not a proper album; it has no coherent, unifying “sound” (a reminder that Winehouse's success owed a great deal to her producers), and most of the vocal performances are far from fully fledged. It will please neither avid devotees nor cynics, because it’s neither a lost masterpiece nor an insult to her memory; neither a bang nor a whimper; but something in between.  

Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett sing "Body and Soul"

It’s neither a lost masterpiece nor an insult to her memory

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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It's not just songs suffering from pmothuosus artist mutilation anything with an artist is a target. The art is more valuable once the artist is gone but the artist is the only one who really knows why certain pieces were never made public, or weren't finished, or were intended to be private. For some reason editors always think they know more about an art form than the artist, and insist on changing things.

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