When talking about Amy Winehouse, it's easy to sideline her music or write it off as just more samey retro, the sort that all her successors make. Those successors took many of their cues from Winehouse, of course, but their sheer numbers can clog the market. The thing is, Winehouse's music was anchored by her voice and her songwriting, not by its backing--Mark Ronson's a strong producer, but he can't save everything. Part of the tragedy of Winehouse's death was how much of a musical force was lost with it.

Big Boi's previously unreleased remix of "Tears Dry On Their Own" gives us a glimpse of what could have been, stripping the "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" instrumental from the original and replacing it with a less triumphant, more turn-of-the-century R&B backing. That Big Boi was a Winehouse fan or friend isn't at all surprising--singer-songwriter-legend Kate Bush is among his musical idols. What makes this remix good is how understanding it is, how the tension of the track undoes Winehouse's self-sufficient declarations in a way that you suspect Winehouse would have, if not necessarily connected with, approved of.

Amy Winehouse - "Tears Dry on their Own" (Organized Noize Dungeon Family Remix) by Big Boi


Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH) May 4, 2003 | Millie Bingham A year ago, readers read: Slides, glides, clogs, mules - shoe styles once accepted as house slippers and beach clogs - now dominate shoe displays. . . . Open-heel shoe styles once called "heel floppers" are dominated by medium-width varieties, sizes B for women and D for men.

Narrow widths make a tighter fit at the arches and help keep slides, glides, clogs and mules on your feet when walking fast or on rocky surfaces, said Tom Roderer of Roderer Shoes, a store with 100 years in the shoe business. Roderer's store at 5500 N. Main St. sells comfortable sandals and slip-ons, but no dressy shoes. web site irs tax refund

Dressy and casuals with heels in are at the Roderer Shoe Store at Town & Country Shopping Center, 300 E. Stroop Road, in Kettering. This store stocks low heels and high-arch shoes and narrow widths.

Another place to help "keep your shoes on" is a shoe repair shop's custom-fit service with inserts where needed.

Spring cleaning * To ready your grill for the first cookout, check the burner. Heed the warning from a top-notch grill repair service, McMahan's Bottle Gas, 233-0831, at 3551 Intercity Drive. It is most important to inspect the Overfill Prevention Device valves, required on all cylinders since April 2002.

Take out and inspect the burner. Make sure holes aren't clogged with rust. Make sure the seam between the top and bottom is not separated. Clean burner tubes with a tube brush or pipe cleaner. Clean inside the grill while free of components.

* Leftover insecticide may not be worth using. To find out, add a small amount to half a jar of water and shake. Let it stand at least one hour. If the solution forms layers, chances are the formula has lost stability. If the solution is milky, use it.

* Clean crowded kitchen cupboards and you learn pieces are missing. For Corning (casseroles, etc.) and Revere (lids, etc.) replacements, call World Kitchen, Binghamton, NY, (800) 999-3436. Replacements for Corning go back 10 years; for Revere, supplies date back 25 years. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Remember warranty Shrubs and trees planted last year may have a year's guarantee from the garden center. If a shrub or young tree didn't survive the winter, you may be due for a replacement or credit towards other plants. On one condition: You need the receipt to prove what you bought. (If the receipt is lost but the plants were charged, check your charge account records.) Out with the old Springtime tends to clear crowded space in closets and drawers, including jewelry rarely worn for months or years. This springtime is a busy season for used-jewelry dealers, including Fair Exchange (433- 9598), 43 S. Main St., Centerville. The exchange opened 20 years ago in April. in our site irs tax refund

"It seems like everyone is selling their jewelry these days. People inherit jewelry and never wear it. They may keep it for years and with no one to give it to, they sell it," says Clee Rhodus, part- owner/manager of Fair Exchange.

Most popular this spring are rings. Colored stones and unusual settings are best sellers. So are large diamonds. So are "signed" costume pieces from 50 years ago or older, plus newer designer- signed jewelry.

Used boat shoppers How do you know the used boat for sale passes U.S. Coast Guard requirements? Has that model ever been recalled for safety defects? The CG Boating Safety Service in Washington answers most questions. Call (800) 368-5647 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect to provide a boat's model number and brand name. The service also answers questions about the type of license a boat needs.

June wedding?

Brides who don't notify Social Security of a name change can end up with an incorrect earnings record and delay in delivery of an IRS tax refund. Social security requires a name change on Form SS-5, which is an application for a Social Security number. Proof of marriage is required; send the original marriage license or a certified copy.

Emergency calling According to a Consumer Reports survey in Steuben County, Ind., and Sullivan County, N.Y., nine out of 21 cell phone test calls failed to connect with 911. CR tips to get through to 911 include: While driving, leave the phone on and its antenna extended, which may shorten the time it takes to reach 911. If you have trouble connecting to 911 from inside a car, get out, if possible, and call from the side of the road. In an emergency, ignore the "no service" message on the phone's display and try the call anyway.

Millie Bingham