Monday, August 1, 2011
Amy Winehouse- Demos
I wanted to avoid exploiting Amy Winehouse's death by writing anything about her, but several people have called her out as a talentless hack, saying that other people are responsible for her success. Then this demo bootleg fell into my lap. First off, Amy Winehouse had been singing since a very early age, she was frequently reprimanded in grade school for singing in class, and she learned to play guitar when she was 13. She was no musical novice when her career took off. Now Mark Ronson could be accused of engineering her success. He produced her Back To Black record, helping mold the voice and music into the final product that we all hear. But it's obvious from these demos that Winehouse wasn't just some hack singer who could be auto-tuned into acceptable listening. People have also speculated that her success was due largely to her being white. Well, I would make that argument for almost the entirety of the rock genre, as well as the blues. Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis were just the first of countless white artists to benefit from African and African-American musicians hard work. Conversely, I could make the argument that the Dap Kings, a predominately white, Jewish group of musicians who backed up Amy on her Back To Black record, are guilty of reaping the rewards of their black predecessors. So that finger can be pointed in many directions. Amy Winehouse was not successful because she was white or because four individuals played music on her record, she was a gifted singer song-writer. You may not like her style of music, but it's hard to deny the artistry in her songs. It also remains to be seen if her name will be mentioned with the likes of Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, et al in twenty years, but it'll be interesting to see how her legacy plays out. That being said, this demo contains four songs from the Back To Black sessions: "Rehab" and "Back To Black" showcase Amy singing early versions with the live band, while "He Can Only Hold Her" has Amy singing her vocal track over pre-recorded music. The real gem on this bootleg is a beautiful version of "Love Is A Losing Game" that features just Amy and an acoustic guitar, creating the air of a personal living room show. This particular song is a great reminder of Amy's singular talent.
Buy this record if you don't care about the context.