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Review: Amy Winehouse

pdq 26 Jul 11 - 03:14 PM
fat B****rd 26 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Jul 11 - 04:11 PM
pdq 26 Jul 11 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Jul 11 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Josepp 26 Jul 11 - 10:38 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jul 11 - 03:01 AM
Lox 27 Jul 11 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,livelylass 27 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM
glueman 27 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM
glueman 27 Jul 11 - 06:02 AM
Richard from Liverpool 27 Jul 11 - 06:10 AM
Jean(eanjay) 27 Jul 11 - 06:15 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Jul 11 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 27 Jul 11 - 07:03 AM
foggers 27 Jul 11 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 27 Jul 11 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 27 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Jul 11 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,norman Jensen 27 Jul 11 - 12:18 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jul 11 - 12:48 PM
Lox 27 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Ruth Fiddler 27 Jul 11 - 10:29 PM
Lox 29 Jul 11 - 07:50 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Jul 11 - 08:28 AM
Lox 29 Jul 11 - 09:04 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM
Lox 29 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Aug 11 - 11:31 AM
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Subject: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: pdq
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:14 PM

Having a place to express people's opinions of Amy Winehouse and her talent seems reasonable.

He obit thread is the wrong place for such statements. That is disrespectful.

I have tried to listen to a few songs she did and I can say I hear some of the affectations of Billy Holliday in her voice.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: fat B****rd
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM

Jamie Cullum played her version of Ella Fitzgerald's version of "Someone To Watch Over me" to-night on UK BBC Radfio 2. Wonderful IMO.
I like most of her original output and she did good cover versions.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:00 PM

I'm really unfamiliar with the tragically late Ms. Winehouse, outside the tabloid stories about her drug use and wildly erratic behaviors.

That said, I agree that the pissing match that went on in the Obit thread was uncalled for and deeply disrespectful.

On the other hand, I do feel that too many people excuse drug addicts and only start worrying about them when they are already too far gone.

No one in my family would get involved in any sort of drugs without a serious ass-kicking and some "scared straight" tactics, which thing I excel at. I'm a former youth worker at a church and spent some years living in a ghetto, so I know the real dangers and terrors of what the addict's world can look like.

One has to wonder how much begging and pleading went on in Ms. Winehouse's life AFTER the demons already had her locked away.

No one can afford to be naive in this day and age when it comes to the effects of drugs and drink.

Hallucinogenic drugs and drinks and so on in centuries and millenia past were organic, made from natural compounds and were often used in controlled, spiritual/religious/philosophical contexts (peyote and such). These days, the almost limitless number of totally- or near-totally synthetic drugs and the compromised quality and contents of even things like pot and hash is terrifying.

I feel terrible that she died so tragically, and I feel worse that there are those in her family and spheres of influence who will have to live forever with the knowledge that they might have waited a minute too long to start giving a shit about her and her impending destruction.

I agree with Charlie Daniels about what to do with the drug dealers:

(From "Simple Man")

We tell our kids to just say no
Then some panty waist judge lets a drug dealer go
Slaps him on the wrist and then he turns him back out on the town.

Now if I had my way with people sellin' dope
I'd take a big tall tree and a short piece of rope
I'd hang 'em up high and let 'em swing 'til the sun goes down.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:11 PM

Maybe consider the words of her father in his eulogy at the funeral today: she kicked drugs three years ago and was facing her alcoholism (article) and the fact the cause of death is still 'unexplained'.

Maybe, for now at least, it would be more fitting to discuss musical issues here.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: pdq
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:30 PM

One of the high points of US music in the 20th Century was Classic Pop.

The songs written by Cole Porter, Whiting, Gershwinet al.

This music is not usually represented by anything on the Pop charts today, but it has been performed continuously since about 1930.

Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Diana Krall, Michael Feinstein, Harry Konick, Jr. and others have had good success covering the older standards.

May I suggest Suzy Bogguss with her recored "Swing". It actually blends about half old and half recently-penned somgs. She is usually put in Country Music, but she grew up in Ohio and her parents were fans of Sinatra, Nat Cole and Bing Crosby. Of course, that could be said of most Americans at one time in history.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:33 PM

I'm sorry, BBS but the natural vs synthetic argument is really something of a 'red herring'. Some substances are addictive and others are toxic at a certain dosage. After all alcohol results from the natural fermentation of naturally occurring sugars and is not particularly harmful in moderation (as they say). But if a person, for whatever reason, becomes addicted to alcohol - and drinks to excess - then it will impact heavily upon their health and will probably kill them eventually.

On the other hand I have to take a synthetic drug every day to control a medical condition which is far more likely to harm me than the drug.

It's not, and never has been, a simple 'black and white' question of 'natural = good', 'synthetic = bad'.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Josepp
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 10:38 PM

She only had one international release. She never grew as an artist and, I think it's obvious now, was never going to. She spent the last four years of her life living off that 2nd release and obviously had nothing left in the tank. Her publlic performances were a disgrace. People keep calling her a legend but must be because there is so little genuine talent out there today that she stands out. Maybe 30 years ago, she might not have even been noticed.

The greatest singer ever was Sarah Vaughan. Winehouse was nowhere close to her. She would have had to evolve as an artist to have any hope of it and she wasn't capable of it. Dying young was the best thing that could have happened for her. If she lived another 20 years, she would not have made another album, would have retired from the stage in disgrace (already had, pretty much) and would have died strung out and forgotten.

As far as new talent goes, all there is is Esperanza Spalding. Now SHE is already a legend as far as I'm concerned and one of the best bass-players that ever lived. 3 Cds out already and another in the works. She could make it as just a singer if she wanted to. She writes her stuff, produces her own stuff, her bass production values are among the best I've ever heard--someone who understands the special sound of a double bass and knows exactly how to capture it. And there's no baggage. Although I think that might count against her. People don't care about pure music today--it's all cult of personality and there must be baggage. How else could Winehouse and Michael Jackson be such total train-wrecks and still be called "legends"?


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 03:01 AM

Look, I don't thing Winehouse was that bad, just not that great. I don't see her having the musical influence of any of the people I mentioned as geniuses. False adulation is as disrespectful of the dead (if "disrespect" is any sort of genuine issue) as false denigration.

She was middle of the road, musically. Except when she was trashed on stage and then she was dreadful. I remember seeing her once on late night TV - might have been Jools Holland - totally out of her box, out of tune and out of time and slurring her words badly, but I have not seen that clip on youtube.

Her worshippers seem to adulate some notable technical ability, or academic knowledge that she might have had. Those are not what make a great musician. They are tools that may assist.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Lox
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 04:42 AM

Esperenza Spalding is great - though might not be quite so famous if she wasn't damn sexy ...

I'm not nor never have been a Winehouse fan, but I know the difference between quality and its absence.

There is footage of Billy Holliday on Youtube where she is out of her head, can't hit a note and is slurring her words.

I reckon there have been times in Richard Bridges life when he has stumbled around slurring his words, but I don't see how that helps us to appreciate his strengths.

As for this question of what makes a great musician, it should be noted that those musicians who have made a genuine impact on the world of music and been responsible for the growth of healthy new branches in music, have in nearly all cases had some kind of rigorous training and practise routine.

The notion of the magically endowed amateur is charming but, except for a few arguable cases, is a romantic myth.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM

"Esperanza Spalding. Now SHE is already a legend as far as I'm concerned and one of the best bass-players that ever lived. 3 Cds out already and another in the works. She could make it as just a singer if she wanted to. She writes her stuff, produces her own stuff, her bass production values are among the best I've ever heard-"

Spalding is wonderfully engaging. Above and beyond the issue of talent or skill, as an artist she really draws you into her music I think. In a world stuffed full of the same old bleached blond R&B singers in high heels and hot pants, her personal style is really refreshing too.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: glueman
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM

"The greatest singer ever was Sarah Vaughan. Winehouse was nowhere close to her."

That's the kind of comment one might expect of Smash Hits or Melody Maker. What next, "Stones Rule, Beatles suck"? Amy Winehouse had a marvellously understated contralto voice she used to great effect in a particular idiom. The gear undid her and she won't be the first or last to go that way.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM

Esperanza S ~ Yes, indeed she is all you guys say. I love her work; what a talent! And especially do I respect the way she overcame her early-life traumas to make such a consummate artiste of herself.

But why do we have to have all these invidious comparisons? This is a thread about Amy Winehouse (whom I adored when she was on song [literally!] ~ which, alas, for reasons we all know too well, she seldom was of late; and now will never be again) ~~ so what is the point of hijacking it to turn it into an Esperanza Spalding fanfest? If you want to rave about ES, why not start an "I luv Esperanza" thread & have a ball? ~~

~~ and leave this one to people who have something constructive [which of course does not necessarily mean adulatory or even favourable] about the topic of this thread?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: glueman
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 06:02 AM

The singer who most closely compares with Amy Winehouse at a similar age is Doris Troy. Gloria Jones also had a something of Amy.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 06:10 AM

I think she had a beautiful voice (however I am not an especial fan, much less a connoisseur, of the jazz voice, so I will abstain from the trite comparisons).

But I think what carried that voice and her music to a higher level than some people here want to give her credit for are her lyrics. I think she was a gifted lyricist who found words to express experiences in her life - experiences that many people heard and related to because, quite aside from her exceptional drug troubles, what she described with an uncanny insight were very common experiences. Sometimes she used words in a crude but amazingly "that hits the nail on the head" way, sometimes in ways that retreated to very personal but still evocative symbolism. The long and the short of it was, the subject matter might not appeal, the mode of expression might not appeal, but it was blatantly clear to anybody who listened to her that she sang true words. And for me that makes a lot of difference and puts her in a league beyond "middle of the road"/"mainstream pop", whatever other dismissive label you want to give her.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 06:15 AM

I think Amy Winehouse should have taken a few years out and it is a real shame that she didn't; there must have been an awful lot of pressure on her. She had the potential to continue for years and make music that many of us would enjoy and that future generations also would enjoy. She had a great talent as both a singer and a songwriter. She had a way of putting a song across that made her performances both interesting and enjoyable and at times very moving. She has left us with some beautiful music.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 06:59 AM

And a point not made sufficiently here IMO is that she had, in ♠♠, that indispensable attribute ~~ call it charisma, call it magic, call it the x-factor or just call it "It" ~~ which is what distinguishes the stand-out artiste from the run-of-the-mill one. It's separate from, or additional to, talent. Agassi had it; Botham had it; Best had it; Redford had it; Monroe had it; Olivier had it ~~ and Amy Winehouse had it. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 07:03 AM

This video was one of the first times I became aware of her. You can't help being struck by the intensity, conviction and skill of her singing. How anyone could view this performance as 'middle of the road' is beyond me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: foggers
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 07:33 AM

We saw her live quite early in her career, and the quality was uneven; great voice, some great delivery, but overall she looked uncomfortable on stage and rapport with her musicians seemed to be lacking. But I do remember some thought provoking lyrics and remember thinking that she was someone on the way up.

The video Peter Laban has linked to just shows all that early promise coming to full flower - thanks for that link. The song, the voice and her delivery are great here.

Her self-destructive addictions will no doubt be the topic of may debates across all media, and maybe there are people around her who could or should have done more and sooner to try and pull her out of that trajectory. It is pointless to speculate whether her career was already over, or whether she would have gone on in her musical development; that is just unknowable. There have been musicians who have burned out early, and others who have recovered and come back to even greater form.

For now, I prefer to just enjoy the too-small collection of music she leaves behind, and to think a little about how sad the death of anyone at the age of 27 is.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 07:46 AM

That performance was recorded in, I believe, 2004 in the church in Dingle. It was part of an ongoing RTE television series 'Other Voices' which showcases young 'new' artists in an intimate setting.

It's presenter, leading Irish music journalist and tv presenter John Kelly, commented this week how he didn't think she would carry it off with minimal instrumental support. He, and the audience present at the time, was blown away however how she not only carried it off but held the room spellbound throughout her concert, leaving (in Kelly's words) the impression of being in the presence of greatness of a Billy Holiday-like magnitude.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

My big beef with Amy is that she didn't sound English! To my ears, she was just another British singer "singing American" , and that - for me - disqualifies her from ever being consider as "one of the greats".


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 09:21 AM

Ah, Tunesmith ~~ alas, it was ever thus! Can you name one who was different? Cilla Black, maybe...?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,norman Jensen
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 12:18 PM

Thank you Josepp for turning me on to Esperanza Spalding. What a musician!


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 12:48 PM

Lox - I've been hung over on stage, but never drunk on stage. I certainly never on either thread in questions espoused the cult of the gifted amateur. If you have an argument to make, you are undermining it by repeatedly creating Aunt Sally shies.

As I said, technical ability may help, but it isn't "it". You can't measure "it". You have to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Lox
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM

Richard,

You obviously haven't been able to hear it.

And you clearly don't understand my points.

The latter is partly because you are operating within a very limited frame of reference, and partly because you are too stubborn and arrogant to admit it.

We've come a long way from your original sweeping assertions which you have done nothing to justify.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Ruth Fiddler
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 10:29 PM

"My big beef with Amy is that she didn't sound English! To my ears, she was just another British singer "singing American" , and that - for me - disqualifies her from ever being consider as "one of the greats"."

For goodness sake; how long now before some opinionated 'critic' spouts peabrained dogmatic assertions
that Amy should only have ever been allowed to sing Klezmer !!!???


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Lox
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 07:50 AM

A few words from Tony Bennett ...

"She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent and has come to such an early end," Bennett continues. "She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance."


But what would he know with his mere 50 years of performing with every top level Jazz musician of the 20th century ...


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 08:28 AM

Yeah, I've heard people recommended by Jonathan King too. "It" doesn't depend on references either.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Lox
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 09:04 AM

Richard,

There's a queue of people who have "it" and who can discern "it" who all disagree with you though aren't there.

Your rationale has failed and all you have left is stubborn refusal.

Its a pity - because you have a lot that's useful to add generally.

You just seem to resent and reject things that challenge your precepts.

And you don't like listening.

Which explains a lot in this context.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM

Tony Bennett was also a master of boredom. Likewise Frank Sinatra, Dino the Wino, Matt Monroe. Mel Torme could do it now and again, and, oddly, Clinton Ford (but not often). Sammy Davis Junior could spark a bit. Now Miriam Makeba could certainly do it.

It's just so hard to be exciting doing middle of the road jazz schmooze. Dixie makes nice easy listening, and the modern random noise jazz can be exciting if you can be bothered to concentrate hard enough.

And I haven't felt an irrepressible urge to insult you one, yet.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM

oops. "once".


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: Lox
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM

I think by inferring an insult you prove that this is all about your pride and not the subject that I've been trying to get you to think about.

As I said - its a pity.


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Subject: RE: Review: Amy Winehouse
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 11:31 AM

Someone to watch over me


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