At The BBC
Amy Winehouse had a voice truly unlike any other. As we approach the ten-year anniversary of her passing, a compilation of live recordings from various performances, At The BBC has been released, marking one of the few posthumous releases from Winehouse. As a result, the massive 38-track collection is a true gem and a stellar showcase of that once in a generation voice.
At The BBC starts strong with a collection of tracks from 2003-2007, most of which from different appearances on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny and On Later… With Jools Holland. Opening with “Stronger Than Me”, Winehouse’s voice sends chills down your spine as she builds from a raspy whisper to a smoky belt. The band behind her are masters of taste and sophistication, as they set up her melodic runs, accent the chorus with lush harmonies on the horns, and keep an unshakeable pulse. The few moments where they let loose, they shred – this is an all-star band in every sense, but their greatness lies in their ability to serve Winehouse and the song with a sense of class and restraint. From the sultry jazz of “Teach Me Tonight”, to the New Orleans swing of “Monkey Man”, and a stunning cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine, the first third of the live album is more than strong enough to stand on its own.
The middle section of At The BBC includes an assortment of performances from a variety of radio sessions and festivals. While there are a handful of repeated tracks between the different sections of the album, each performance remains unique from the other, which further emphasises the soulful spirit of Winehouse, along with the jazz sensibilities that she brought to her performances. The songs from her 2004 T In The Park concert are particularly exciting, including the irresistible strut of “Fuck Me Pumps” and “In My Bed”, this section of the record additionally features a stirring performance of “Lullaby Of Birdland” and a classic performance of “Valerie”.
At The BBC comes to a conclusion with Winehouse’s 2007 concert at Porchester Hall. The 14-song set is yet another incredible display of Winehouse and her band and continues to shine, despite the repeated songs from earlier on the album. From the show opener, “Know You Now”, to its closer, “Monkey Man”, Winehouse and her band are on top of the world. The performance reaches truly spectacular highs with songs “You Know I’m No Good”, “Me & Mrs. Jones”, and the quintessential hits, “Rehab” and “Back To Black”.
Transcending pop and jazz, At The BBC is a fantastic collection of live highlights from Winehouse’s all too short career. Her vocals, unparalleled, and her band, as tight as they come, At The BBC is a testament to the timelessness that is the artistry of Winehouse. Carefully curated, At The BBC is the best of Winehouse like you’ve never heard before.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: AMY WINEHOUSE – AT THE BBC