Famed producer, Gil Cang releases reggae song by Amy Winehouse

By Howard Campbell

SOUTH FLORIDA – When the 17-year-old singer with a unique look and voice stepped into his north London record store 17 years ago, it did not take Gil Cang long to find out she was something special.

Her name was Amy Winehouse and after chatting a bit with her, Cang discovered they shared a love for classic soul music and Jamaican culture.

Gil Cang recorded a demo with her which languished in his studio for 17 years.  Cang found the track recently and released it last week.

My Own Way is the name of the song which was cut at Cang’s Tuff Scout Records. It blends the soul sound Winehouse was weaned on, as well as a distinct reggae one drop drum roll made famous during the 1970s by Wailers drummer Carlton Barrett.

“Amy came in to see us, opened her mouth and just blew us all away. We were struck immediately by her talent – it was a real jaw on the floor moment. We were like wow, yes,” Cang, 49, told British media.

Following the troubled Winehouse’s death in 2011, it was widely reported that she had no ‘lost’ recordings. But Cang, who is well known in British reggae circles, put that claim to rest with My Own Way which has got generally strong reviews.

Winehouse made no secret of her love for ska, rocksteady and reggae.

For her first album, Frank, she recruited famed Jamaican session guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith whose long list of credits include songs and albums by The Wailers, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and Lauryn Hill.

Drummer Squiddly Cole, a stalwart of Ziggy and Stephen Marley’s bands, also played on Frank which came out in 2003.

While not a mass seller, it got strong reviews and set the pace for Winehouse’s second album, Back To Black, which was an international sensation and won five Grammy Awards in 2006.

Cang started his career as a drummer in Britain before moving to New York as a teenager and getting involved in the reggae scene. Returning to England after four years, he started Tuff Scout Records in his and Winehouse’s hometown of Camden, releasing songs by Jamaican artistes such as Michael Prophet, Al Campbell and Big Youth.

Click image below to listen to “My Own Way” by Amy Winehouse

My Own Way - Amy Winehouse

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