If you like Amy Winehouse, you’ll like this…
I must confess that I find it hard to mourn the death of Amy Winehouse. Don’t think of me as a man possessed of a callous heart. Of course the death of a young, talented woman is a cause for sadness. But Ms Winehouse did not die in a tragic accident, as Otis Redding did, nor did a dread disease claim her, as it did Minnie Riperton. Amy Winehouse was a victim of her own excess; she lived a self-destructive lifestyle which first wounded her talent and then (as it appears) ended her life. My empathy is directed at her parents and those who loved Amy Winehouse without abetting her destruction.
There is tragedy in a life wasted, and sorrow in a talent not entirely fulfilled. I have both of Winehouse’s albums. They are good, but I couldn’t share in the excess of excitement that surrounded the Winehouse phenomenon. To be sure, she was a smart lyricist; a worthy successor of Marlena Shaw. Even her music was agreeable, in the way of a good pastiche. I don’t doubt that she had an affection for old soul music, and she treated the genre with great respect. But — and here’s the rub for me — why go for the copy if there is still so much of the source material to explore?
There is an argument that Winehouse’s retro offerings encouraged her listeners to explore the canon of old soul music. I don’t buy that. Winehouse’s success encouraged the proliferation of mediocre mono-named songstresses who say they are inspired by the soul music of the 1960s (and, usually, “all the old blues guys”, who then go unnamed).
So, to help the proponents of the former argument, here is a mix of songs which I might have named “If You Like Amy Winehouse, You’ll Like This”. I’ll call it, without any efforts to engage my imagination (for shortly I have a dessert to prepare for dinner), Any Major Soul Women. I imagine that Amy Winehouse would have been inspired by many of these singers; maybe she even based her sound on some of them. I can imagine her singing most of these songs.
As always, the mix is times to fit on a CD-R. Due to shortage of time, alas, no covers.
1. Anna King – Sittin’ In The Dark (1964)
2. Baby Washington – You Are What You Are (1966)
3. Betty Everett – Until You Were Gone (1964)
4. Rhetta Hughes – Cry Myself To Sleep (1969)
5. Irma Thomas – She’ll Never Be Your Wife (1973)
6. Laura Lee – Mama’s Got A Good Thing (1972)
7. Ila Vann – Got To Get To Jim Johnson (1967)
8. Erma Franklin – You’ve Been Cancelled (1969)
9. Fontella Bass – I Surrender (1966)
10. Marlena Shaw – Go Away, Little Boy (1969)
11. Mitty Collier – Little Miss Loneliness (1963)
12. Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You (1972)
13. Candi Staton – I’ll Drop Everything And Come Running (1972)
14. Jean Knight – Pick Up The Pieces (1970)
15. Sandra Wright – Wounded Woman (1974)
16. Esther Phillips – I Don’t Want To Do Wrong (1972)
17. Margie Joseph – Sweeter Tomorrow (1971)
18. Lyn Collins – Take Me Just As I Am (1973)
19. Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons – Your Thing Ain’t No Good Without My Thing (1970)
20. Linda Jones – Don’t Go (I Can’t Bear To Be Alone) (1972)
21. Barbara Mason – I Miss You Gordon (1973)
22. Rosetta Hightower – I Don’t Blame You At All (1971)
23. Tammi Terrell – That’s What Boys Are Made For (1968)
24. Brenda Holloway – I’ll Always Love You (1964)
25. Dee Dee Warwick – We’re Doing Fine (1965)
26. Jean Wells – Have A Little Mercy (1968)
27. Lorraine Ellison – Try (1969)
28. Ruby Andrews – Overdose Of Love (1972)