February 1, 2007

Amy Winehouse: Swanky, retro vocal grooves

She may be a bit of a trainwreck in real life, constantly in the tabloids over in native England (heckling Bono, throwing up mid-song from being sozzled, hauling off and punching fans), but Amy Winehouse has an absolutely fantastic sound that I find immensely appealing.

Raised in a family of jazz musicians in Southgate, London, Winehouse channels some of the great female singers of decades past, with a modern beat-laden sound and feisty lyrics. Take a listen to the lead track from her 2006 sophomore album, Back to Black:

Rehab – Amy Winehouse

“Tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no…”
Reminds me of the lyrical no-nonsense of Ernestine Anderson singing her heart out in this song, written in 1922 (minus the part condoning domestic violence; Winehouse takes a distinctly opposite tack):

T’ain’t Nobody’s Bizness (If I Do) – Ernestine Anderson

Winehouse also carries a feeling of long-lost vocal tapes being aired out in front of jazzy new remixes:

You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse

reminds me of something like this

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby (Rae and Christian remix)
Dinah Washington
from the excellent Verve Remixed series

This album is feisty and confident (listen to more songs here), and Winehouse’s sound is full of ole’-fashioned girl group goodness. With tinges of gospel, jazz, and chanteuse soul, Back to Black comes highly recommended when it gets U.S. release on Dusty Groove in mid-March 2007.

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7 Comments »

  • Amy Winehouse does have a classic Jazz voice – she’s a great singer and so young,still,too.Her records are blisteringly honest but she’s the real thing;a chanteuse who could sing as Sinartra and Holiday did without any emotional affectation because they knew the territory.

    Speaking of great artists, have you seen the U2 video for ‘Window in the sky’.Its available on youtube and its a roll call of great singers and so exhilirating to watch.Makes me proud that I once saw them play in a school gym….

    Russell — February 1, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

  • damn, i was just going to comment “f*ck bono…” all intelligent, and amy winehouse-like, and then i see russell’s comment.

    are you for real russell? what school gym are you talking about? i need to know. (really.)

    c — February 1, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  • Have you seen the video?

    It was Bracknell sports centre in 1981 – the gym inside the sports centre – which was the size of a school gym – only half full if i remember rightly and not as good as the gigs at the friars in Aylesbury or the Lyceum but still full of that raw power they had then;when Bono really danced and we all thought Adam Clayton was hilarious because of his penchant for brandy and cigars……for real!

    russell — February 1, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  • c, I know you so well. I was literally going to forward you Russell’s first comment so you could speculate on what he meant and hunt him down and make you tell him his rad story.

    :)

    heather — February 1, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  • waay cool. that’s awesome russell.

    so, continuing to hijack this comment thread … i do agree the “window” video is pretty cool (although the first minute or so maybe doesn’t work as well as the rest of it – as far as syncing up with the lyrics, IMO).

    but seriously, we need to know more about this 1981 u2-ishness. how much did your tickets cost? we need more of these adam clayton and brandy story-type things. were you hanging out with adam?

    would you email me? i swear i am not (that) crazy.

    gmail: scatterolight

    c — February 1, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  • When i first heard Amy Winehouse , she sounds like shirley bassey on im no good. Shirley Bassey for you youngster out there sang one of the early bond theme songs. And, damm the add got me cause i cant think of the name …

    mike — February 1, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  • I read here, actually, that Winehouse was recording a new Bond theme song.

    heather — February 1, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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