Following the unfortunate departure of Amy Winehouse from this world, many speculated on whether or not there was much in the way of unreleased material from the London songstress. After much deliberation the decision was finally made to release Lioness: Hidden Treasures.
When the news struck that we had lost the shining light that was Amy Winehouse it was a shock to many the world over. Still able to shine through the drudges of hardships, slander, and personal demons it was hard not to fall in love with her. Her huge voice, which at the best of times seemed abnormal because of her diminutive physical frame, is not something anyone has yet been able to trump. With two previous releases, one of them, Back To Black, a classic by all standards, her third installment is a collection of unreleased gems - the Blake Fielder-Civil dedicated ‘Between The Cheats,’ and remixed oldies - ‘Our Day Will Come’ originally recorded by Ruby & The Romantics.
After expressing her love for hip-hop icon Nas on ‘Me & Mr. Jones,’ Winehouse’s wish to work with the Queensbridge rhymer came true posthumously on the cut ‘Like Smoke.’ Horns aplenty, the Salaam Remi produced retro-centric joint is a reminder of how smooth both artists could really be. Forget the controversy, the way in which the two melt into the instrumental is comparable only to that of butter on your breakfast toast.
Another fresh offering in the same loop as the above is the drum lead ‘The Girl From Ipamena.’ With a drum-n-bass percussion acoustic laying the foundations for the Camden Town-based singer to get her bossa nova on, as many times as this song has been covered this version sounds as fresh as the new day.
With a lack of completely new material, whether it be due to licensing or not even being recorded, the occasional requirement to fill the LP up with a remix will leave the listener feeling a little short changed at times. The ’68 version of ‘Valerie‘ doesn’t really sound too different from the original cover that Mark Ronson birthed alongside Winehouse, while the original version of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own,’ simply titled ‘Tears Dry,’ doesn’t stand up to the breathtaking version released via Back To Black. Unfortunately fillers is a word that comes to mind.
'Body And Soul,' which was premiered by the song’s featured artist Tony Bennett at this year’s VMA’s, is a duet full of passion. Following the easy listening route, the love confessional between the two artists is a great way to unwind. Whether you allow your emotions to pour out or you’re just looking for something to accompany your evening Scotch and cigar, this is the number.
Overall, it’s a beautiful thing to hear the pain and passion through the use of Winehouse’s powerful vocals on wax again. Some will be overjoyed, some will crave more, while other fans will be mildly satisfied to the point where they just needed a gentle reminder of what they’ve been missing by not giving Amy Winehouse’s back catalogue more of a regular rotation. She really was a lioness songstress.