With her black 60s beehive hairdo, multifarious tattoos and Billie Holiday-esque voice, Amy Winehouse’s soul music is at once a throwback to the past and unflinchingly contemporary. Following on from her bold, jazz-tinged debut, Winehouse’s 2007 breakthrough album Back To Black, with its blistering horn sections and propulsive breakbeats, plays like a Ronettes album sung by a downward-spiralling dope fiend who still hasn’t lost her sense of humour. It's fulsome sound comes courtesy of producer Mark Ronson and Sharon Jones’s backing band, The Dap-Kings and Winehouse’s commitment to the material is total. Sure, her hit single 'Rehab' juxtaposes a 60s soul approach with such a played-out topic as celebrity rehab. But if the song is roguishly cavalier, it is also plainly earned by experience. The album’s meteoric success would be overshadowed by Winehouse’s personal problems but it is also a musical document of them, with her emotional honesty perhaps proving her greatest asset.
Influenced By: Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, The Specials, Donny Hathaway, Frank Sinatra, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Sarah Vaughan, The Ronettes...