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Amy In The Sun: The Other (Caribbean) Side of Amy Winehouse | LargeUp

Amy Winehouse, who died Saturday at age 27, left as her musical legacy a distinctively modern take on the timeless sound of vintage soul music. Lesser known is that the troubled singer was as enamored with Caribbean music as she was with R&B. In fact, her desire to take her followup to Back to Black in a more reggae-leaning direction may have almost as much to do with said album’s failure to materialize as did her well documented drug addiction. Seemingly on the road to recovery, the singer (who had previously indicated plans to record with her friend, Damian Marley) is said to have emerged from several months in St. Lucia in 2009 with a set of dark, heavily reggae-flavored tunes. Ironically, Island Records, the label responsible for turning reggae into a global phenomenon in the 1970s, apparently rejected this material on the grounds that it departed too drastically from the successful Back to Black formula.

While these recordings remain unheard, the influence of the Caribbean can be found across Winehouse’s brief catalog. Salaam Remi, the Barbadian producer responsible for merging hip-hop with dancehall in the early 1990s, produced the majority of the tracks on her 2003 debut album, Frank, and nearly half of those on Back to Black. Mark Ronson, whose contributions to Back to Black such as “Rehab” and “You Know That I’m No Good” are Winehouse’s signature tunes, gets all of the accolades but Remi probably deserves just as much credit for her blossoming as an artist. On Frank (whose heavily bossanova-flavored “Know You Now” also featured instrumentation from Jamaican musicians, including guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith), Remi’s gift for subtly mixing Caribbean elements into non-reggae fare can be heard on a dubby cover of “Moody’s Mood For Love”:

“Just Friends,” one of five tracks Remi produced on Back to Black and the album’s sixth and final single, was more explicit in its island-ness, supporting Winehouse’s most understated vocal performance on the album with reggae rimshots and ska-style horns:

Around the time of Back to Black, Winehouse recorded a handful of ska and early reggae covers. Originally released as B-sides to various singles from the album, these were later collected on a bonus disc included in the CD’s deluxe edition and on the limited-run, vinyl-only The Ska EP.  Among these were a version of “Monkey Man,” the 1969 Toots and the Maytals track that has been covered by everyone from The Specials to No Doubt. Performing for over 100,000 fans at England’s Glastonbury Music Festival in 2007, at the height of her popularity, Winehouse closed her set with “Monkey Man”:

Winehouse also covered the Skatalites “You’re Wondering Now” and The Specials’ “Hey Little Rich Girl” and, most interestingly, recorded a one-drop version of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid.” The track follows the template of a 1969 rocksteady version of Cooke’s classic R&B ballad by “I Can See Clearly Now” singer Johnny Nash, the first American performer to record in Jamaica. The arrangement, however, is more basic, emphasizing an astrounding vocal performance from Winehouse in which, despite their anatomical differences, she sounds eerily like Cooke, another singer who died tragically at a young age.

It’s really too early to speculate on the status of any unreleased recordings Winehouse might have made late in her life. Yet it’s hard to imagine that her dalliance with reggae in St. Lucia won’t be something worth looking forward to, should the results ever emerge.

Source: Large Up

Author: Jesse Serwer

Reggae Gold 2011 Preview

Reggae Gold is the ultimate collection of reggae hits for summer! Filled with 17 of the hottest sounds from Jamaica, Reggae Gold is the most recognized and best selling compilation series in the genre. Reggae Gold 2011 features new & current hits from Stephen Marley, Shaggy, Queen Ifrica, Alborosie, I-Octane and more! Plus the latest hits from reggae legends Beres Hammond and Shabba Ranks! Reggae Gold 2011 includes a bonus disc with an exclusive DJ mix performed by DJ Norie of WWPR-FM New York’s Power 105 radio – it’s 40 minutes of non-stop dancehall vibes. Reggae Gold 2011 is solid back to back hits!

Also Features HITS from: Gyptian, Richie Spice, Tarrus Riley, Mavado, Vybz Kartel and many more!

Stephen Marley ft. Damian Marley & Notorious Big: Jah Army Video

Just came across this remix for “Jah Army” off of Stephen Marley’s Revelation Pt. 1 that features Damian Marley and the late Notorious B.I.G. The vibe is nice!


Best of the Best Concert Sunday Lineup

Damian Marley: Collaborates with Mick Jagger

Damian Marley is known for his unique collaborations with different artists. His latest project involves Mick Jagger for a super group called Super Heavy.

Also involved is singer Joss Stone, Eurthymics member Dave Stewart and producer A.R. Rahman.

According to Rolling Stone, the group has been recording for at least 18 months and plan to debut the album in September.

“It’s different from anything else I’ve ever been involved in,” Jagger told the magazine. “The music is very wide-ranging — from reggae to ballads to Indian songs in Urdu.”

They are actually further along than expected. Super Heavy completed their first single and filmed the accompanying visuals and is looking around for a major label deal.