Spend enough time searching the web for Amy Winehouse rarities, and the following things become clear:
1. Left to her own devices, Winehouse preferred British pub rock, hip-hop and ska to the sad girl blues albums we always imagined she listened to, if her covers selections and guest performances are any indicator.
2. There seemed to be a direct correlation between her beehive and her live performance: The more famous and messed up she got, the higher the hairpiece and the worse the show.
3. Because Winehouse only made two albums, wasn't much of a collaborator and didn't perform much in recent years, rarities are hard to come by — though that likely won't stop the inevitable flood of barrel-scraping posthumous releases. The inevitable Jeff Buckley-fication of Amy Winehouse can’t be far off.
4. The later in her career, the less quality live songs there were to be found, and the more covers. Playing live and writing new material probably seemed unthinkable. Covers were the only things left.
Winehouse may not have left much in the way of rarities behind, but what there was, was choice. We've collected an assortment of her best live songs, collaborations and re-dos, with an occasional remix thrown in for good measure:
This mini-set was apparently Winehouse's first U.S. performance. Can you listen to "Rehab" without feeling like an enabler? If so, it's here.
"Tears Dry on Their Own" (Organized Noise x Dungeon Family remix)
The "Back to Black" stunner gets remixed by a team led by by Big Boi, who hollows it out drastically, but not unpleasingly.
"Hey Little Rich Girl" (Specials cover)
Winehouse loved ska in general (there was even a super rare '08 release, "The Ska EP," available for download online, if you can find it) and the Specials in particular.
(More unreleased material after the jump.)
From the "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" soundtrack. It's still good, though.
"[Expletive] Me Pumps" (Mylo remix)
The Scottish remixer brings out the playfulness in this highlight from Winehouse's '03 debut, "Frank."
"Some Unholy War" (acoustic)
A stripped bare version of the "Back to Black" track that outdoes the original.
"You Know I'm No Good" (featuring Ghostface Killah)
Winehouse's hip-hop collaborations, unofficial or otherwise, never disappointed. This was arguably as good as any of them, even her Nas-cribbing "In My Bed."
This Lesley Gore cover wound up on a Quincy Jones tribute album last year. Like most of Winehouse's retro re-dos, it feels more dutiful than passionate, but it's still worth a listen.
This early live performance of the "Frank" track featured Winehouse pre-beehive.