Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amy Winehouse!

She get’s more column inches for her personal problems these days, but that should not detract from the soul phenomenon that is Amy Winehouse. A number of years ago I was waking lyrical about her debut album on my black On Red show and predicted big success for the young singer, but ultimately “Frank” lacked the cohesiveness anddirection that “Back to Black” showcased last year. It is now available
in special edition format, and while I’d normally be dismissive of the cash-in nature of such releases, the extra tracks on this
release justify the move to some extent.

Amy Winehouse is hardly to the first music great to be beset by personal problems. She is different to contemporary troubled females such as Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears et al, in that she is a genuine music talent, and it is on these terms that she should be judged. Way back in the day
blues and soul singers such as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and even Nina Simone went through many of the same difficulties that Amy Winehouse is going through now.

A lot of my other favourite music artists had many negative traits, but that doesn't lesson the greatness of James Brown, Marvin Gaye or Miles Davis. Sometimes the friction caused by personal problems can even benefit art, I somehow doubt that Billie Holiday or Aretha Franklin would have left such a body of work had they been happy all of their lives. The albums that Marvin Gaye released in the 70's are incredibly diverse and fascinating, but his personal demons meant under-rated records such as "I Want You" and "Here my Dear" were given a new dimension.

They were different times though, and the intense media scrutiny that now surrounds so-called celebrities means that such stars every single moves are now there for us all to see. Besides being tiresome and boring, these stories adopt a moral highground that is pretty pathetic to be honest, there are a lot of journalists
who are hypocritical on many issues.

I’m a big fan of Amy Winehouse and hope she continues to release quality music, it’s great to see proper soul in the charts again. The fact that she has blown the stubborn American market apart is even more impressive, they are traditionally very hostile to English soul singers in the States. Let's hope she puts her troubles behind her and gets back to making some exciting music. Behind all of the drama and drink and drugs there lies a singer who may even someday be held in similar esteem to her soul and jazz idols. To me, that's a lot more interesting a
prospect than her boyfriends court problems, but hey, what do I know!

(This article appeared in my coloumn in the Evening Echo a few weeks ago)

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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at