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I love music and have a very diverse collection of styles and artists in my cd collection including a lot of artists popular in the UK not known here yet. For some reason I never discovered Amy Winehouse with her superb first release FRANK. Had I, I would have been a huge fan from the beginning. Instead, the same as many, I was introduced to her through the single REHAB which sadly came hand in hand with her strong addiction problems. The paparazzi had a field day with her. And the joke was she was singing about rehab when it seemed she so obviously needed it. Even with her Grammy wins I didn't purchase this album.

Regretfully, it took her very sad and untimely death with talk of her unique musical talents and gifts that I bought both FRANK and BACK TO BLACK. I have truly fallen in love with Amy. She indeed was a truly gifted artist. BACK TO BLACK is honestly one of the best albums I have ever heard. She wrote every track and by listening to this cd you can put all the gossip and drama aside and listen to Amy as an artist. It is very important to remember she wrote the lyrics to all these songs and it is obvious the poor woman wore her heart and soul on her sleeve. But for the listener it provided a great gift. The cd is a winner from beginning to end and speaks of love and relationships and all that comes with it. Her style combines retro soul with r&b and jazz with a hint of classic pop. It is a style new, unique and truly inspired. The songs BACK TO BLACK, LOVE IS A LOSING GAME and TEARS DRY ON THEIR OWN are instant classics. ME AND MR. JONES is a stunning and clever album cut. YOU KNOW I'M NO GOOD is also an instant classic and showns much insight into Amy's thoughts of herself. Listen to the words on the haunting WAKE UP ALONE and SOME UNHOLY WAR and you will feel so much what the life of this woman was like.

The song REHAB is not a defiant song to those trying to get her help but rather a declaration of how she thought it wouldn't help. She talks of what rehab would give her but she could get the same advice and support at home listening to music like Ray Charles and waiting for the sorrow to pass. In her mind it was all about love and heartbeak. If the sorrow could pass she would not have to use. Addiction is a very serious illness and whatever was really going on we need to acknowledge the very sad fact that this musically gifted person Amy Winehouse left us and this life way too early. For her sake she managed to leave a musical legacy behind with only 2 cds. She will live on through her music and because of her gifts as a songwriter and expressive, superbly diverse singer we will always see her as the person by the music. May you rest in peace Amy and hopefully all your demons have been silenced and you have found peace. But rest assured you will be remembered.
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on January 25, 2013
I love the songs. This is a great album. But the vinyl version is a terrible production with poor dynamic range. Note that I have a very good system with NAD discreet components, Vandersteen speakers, a hand-rebuilt DUAL turntable, and a high-end GRADO cartridge. No other vinyl recordings that I own, old or new, sound this muddy.
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on February 23, 2016
One star for Vinyl record only. Album itself is great.

Just like others have reviewed, quality of sound is terrible. Its as if they transferred sound from a cassette. It could be the original sound material was recorded by a garbage sound engineer because I am yet to hear a good sound quality transfer on any medium - stream,cd, vinyl. Google music stream is the best so far in terms of transfer but Vinyl is just garbage.

I hate all the new sound engineers - or is it the studios- who knows! None of the new records are going to sound great on vinyl. I also bought Adele 21 and its good but the stream on Google is far better. The older vinyls have just great quality. We recently bought Love Story soundtrack for $3 from an antique shop. The theme from the movie plays so well - as if someone is playing the piano and guitar in front of you. Compare that to overproduced, over engineered garbage that is featured on new albums - especially this one.
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When I first saw the video for Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good" on MTV, I was genuinely impressed. I heard numerous influences within her vocals and I was shocked that this 23 year old British Girl could sing like that. A mix of Etta James, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin. Just as fascinating was the production captivating the 1950s and 1960 R&B sound. We as listeners and musicians often throw around the notion of neo-soul, but Ms. Winehouse is most definitely more "soul" than neo. BACK TO BLACK in my mind certainly serves as a clear anachronism to 1960. Somehow, it does so in a way that doesn't turn off a younger group of listeners. I mean, somebody is certainly tuning into the multiple plays that the video clip for "You Know I'm No Good" is getting on MTV and VH1.

The album opens like a classic Etta James affair with the repetitive (in a positive way) "Rehab" where the "bad-girl" Winehouse sings how "they tried to make me go to rehab and I said no, no, no." The production is classic with acoustic piano, horns, and a classic drum groove. Everything sounds like the 1950s style of R&B coupled with the jazz of that time. Ray Charles would've been proud to hear Mrs. Winehouse shed through this number, or the equally great "You Know I'm No Good". Once again, Mrs. Winehouse's bad girl persona arises as she sings "I cheated myself, Like I knew I would, I told you I was troubled, you know that I'm no Good". Sure, "You Know I'm No Good" still keeps the jazz-influenced R&B sound alive, but there is enough of a modern sound here that it is clear why the clip is resonating with the youth viewing MTV. "Me and Mr. Jones" keeps alive a string of hits. Perhaps most alerting to fans is Winehouse's bad girl attitude (she belts: "what kind of f**kery is this"). If you stretch back to jazz history, one has to look no further than Mrs. Billie Holiday herself to her excesses of drugs and being "one of the guys". Maybe Winehouse isn't that much of a stretch after all. Vocally, she is superb!

"Just Friends" isn't quite as impressive as the latter tracks, but it isn't terrible either. It is solid. "Back To Black" is better, and it is one of few title tracks that breaks the trend for a sub-par title track. The production once again stands out with its looped jazz-piano riff. Particularly impressive to me is how the production team managed to not only capture the 50s/60s R&B sound but also how the managed to arive at the same sound and timbre of the recordings of those tracks. "Back to Black" and "Rehab" in particular are great displays of that. "Love Is A Losing Game" is absolutely stunning and it is great to hear Winehouse shed through a ballad. Her vocal facility is nearly flawless; every nuance is perfect and perhaps she is what Holiday was-- technically a limited vocalist (where range is concerned), but she made the best of it and it turned out to make her one of the world's greatest and most important vocalists.

"Tears Dry On Their Own" doesn't quite feel as authentic, merely because it samples the blatantly obvious Ashford & Simpson penned soul classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". It isn't bad by any means as the songwriting is still strong and Winehouse remains at her best. However, the originals sit better here. "Wake Up Alone" gets things back on point with its classicist six feel, harkening back to the doo-wop tunes of the mid-50s. "Some Unholy War" features some stunning background vocal works and subtle organ in the background. Not my favorite, but again, it is very solid. "He Can Only Hold Her" uses a classic soul sample, but does so much better than "Tears Dry On Their Own" (side: John Legend lifted this same sample for his exceptional "Slow Dance" from his ONCE AGAIN album). "He Can Only Hold Her" turns out to be one of my favorites and a nice end to the album (penultimate). "You Know I'm No Good [Remix]" featuring the ubiquitous Ghostface Killah isn't bad either. It is arguable to say whether or not Ghost truly adds any true substance to the remix, but it isn't in my opinion a bad way to end this phenomenal, perhaps MILESTONE album.

All I have to say is that Amy Winehouse has it going on and BACK TO BLACK is most certainly the most innovative R&B album of this year and just perhaps of the past couple of years. It screams GRAMMY to me. 4 stars.
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on April 19, 2007
Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black" is another release in the vein of Joss Stone and a number of other British recording artists who have gone to the 50's and 60's to either redo those era's songs, or create new songs with that era's sound.

With Wall of Sound production values, a smoky, whiskey-inflected voice that calls to mine Macy Gray, but not quite as harsh, Winehouse's CD shows songwriting skill in addition to a great voice.

Songs like "Rehab," "You Know I'm No Good," "Back to Black," and others capture and hold your attention. There is a frighteningly self-destructive nature to a lot of these songs, and judging from what is know about Winehouse, there may be more truth to these songs than we or she would like to admit.

Here's hoping that Amy Winehouse will make more great music like this for many, many years to come.
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on December 29, 2016
 One of Amy's best albums, this vinyl record does her justice! It's rare to find an album without one single bad track. Each song is amazing, conveying emotion and soul. Amy Winehouse, we miss you!

Some of my favorite tracks:
Rehab - Amy's most famous song. The one that made her a star internationally. Sounds wonderful on vinyl. It's a shame it's over-played.
Me & Mr. Jones - if you didn't know it, you'd think this is a song from the 60s sung by a soulful black woman. So much expression.
Just Friends - listen to it, no comment needed.
Back to Black - the album's namesake. If you know Amy's story, this song means even more. Again, I've never heard this song sound as good as it does on vinyl.
Wake Up Alone - my all-time favorite Amy Winehouse song. So much soul going on here. Her changes are just beautiful. On her posthumously released album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, the original recording of this track was released. I think it's even better than this recording, but both are phenomenal. I included a video of this track, amazing.

A few issues with the record I received:
The spindle hole was too small. I nearly broke the record removing it from the turntable. I fixed it by inserting some scissors in the hole and giving it a spin.
The record was quite dirty when I took it out of the sleeve for the first time.
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on March 17, 2007
This CD contains what most are missing: REAL MUSIC!! It's sharp, mature, and soulful, without coming off as contrived. From start to finish it is stellar.
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on August 28, 2016
Love the album, obviously. Low rating is for the very poor quality vinyl I received. I am by no means an audiophile and even I can tell this is really bad. Aside from the gritty, noisy sound quality, the most glaring issue is the vinyl is bent pretty bad. I can literally see the needle on my turn table bouncing up and down as the record turns. Hard to see in the picture, but one side of the album is lifted up off the table while the other lays flat. Really disappointed.
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on January 12, 2008
My son lives in England and has long recommended Amy Winehouse's music to me. I've been reluctant to listen; she's such a mess. But, I finally did, and I'm glad I did. Amy Winehouse has one of the most intriguing voices of the decade. She also has a grasp on the poodle-skirt era music in a most unpoodle-like way. It's a 21st century interpretation of the things that moved me in the first place: angst, rocking beats and the grind of it all. I highly recommend this album.
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on November 14, 2007
I'd avoided this early on due to the hype over Amy Winehouse, but when I saw her perform "Rehab" on The Brit Awards on BBC America, that did it for me. I loved her voice immediately, and figured the album couldn't be bad, but I was more surprised at how solid the album is all the way through, and have played it more than any other disc this year.

I know a bunch of reviewers really dislike her voice, but I love it. Her delivery seems effortless, and not at all affected to my ears. You can certainly say she has listened to her share of Billie Holiday or any number of the greatest soul singers, but it never comes across to me as some bad or outright imitation - she sounds absolutely genuine. And you can basically make a case for any successful artist/band as having ripped off someone else. Didn't The Beatles themselves admit flat out they took ideas off Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly? Don't worry, I'm not trying to set her up as an equal to The Beatles in any way! But everybody is influenced by someone else to some degree and that's my point. From there, you have to give it something of your own, which I believe Ms. Winehouse has done here (her vocal delivery and lyrics bear this out in my opinion). If you don't, the hype machine can only carry you so far before sales start to slide dramatically.

Anyway, the whole album is so enjoyable to me (and the production by Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson is a perfect fit), but some favorites are "Rehab", "You Know I'm No Good", "Me and Mr. Jones", and "Love Is A Losing Game". But the best of the bunch for me are "Just Friends", with her especially gorgeous delivery ("And no I'm not ashamed but the guilt will kill you...If she don't first"); and best of all is "Tears Dry On Their Own". Even though its base melody is lifted from (and duly credited to) "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", Amy makes this hers, and when she launches into the chorus, "He walks away...the sun goes down..." it's spine tingling stuff.

Again, judging by many of the reviews here, she's a "like her or not" proposition and that's fine - you can't please everyone. I'll take her any day over any number of self-styled "divas" who over-emote simply to show off their alleged vocal prowess, which always rings false to me. For me, Amy is a true talent, sings with real emotion and power, and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.
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