When Amy Winehouse died last July, the music world mourned the loss of a hugely gifted but deeply troubled artist. Blessed with a smoky contralto and an influential retro-soul style, she released two of the most acclaimed albums of the early 21st century: 2003’s Frank and 2006’s Back to Black, which earned her five Grammy Awards. Amy’s breakthrough opened the doors for singers like Adele and Duffy. But the “Rehab” singer was plagued by personal demons and her death from alcohol poisoning was as tragic as it was, seemingly, inevitable.
Now, with the release of Lioness: Hidden Treasures, Winehouse’s legions of fans will get another taste of her rare talent. The posthumous collection includes alternate versions and previously unreleased tracks from Frank and Back to Black as well as two new songs. Featuring a cover photo by Bryan Adams, the album opens with Winehouse sounding sweet on a sunny, reggae version of “Our Day Will Come” and closes with her heartbreaking take on the Leon Russell song “A Song for You,” a hit for her idol Donny Hathaway. Also included are Winehouse’s interpretations of the Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and the bossa-nova classic “The Girl from Ipanema.”
But the tracks bound to get the most attention are the two new songs: the playful doo-wop “Between the Cheats” and the gorgeous soul number “Like Smoke,” featuring Winehouse’s rapper friend Nas. Both were recorded for Back to Black’s planned followup and show that, despite her struggles, Winehouse was still writing and singing emotionally rich material. It’s fitting that the album also includes “Body and Soul,” the duet with Tony Bennett that proved to be her final recording. Says Bennett: “It is a testament to her artistic genius and her brilliance as one of the most honest musicians I have ever known.” Listen to Lioness and hear Amy roar.