The Shmooze

Amy Winehouse’s Dad Releases Album of Inoffensive Jazz Hits

By Michael Kaminer

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Don’t expect any onstage meltdowns or messy arrests from this Winehouse.

Amy’s father Mitch, a former sales consultant who became a London cabbie late in life, is releasing an album of “lovely but forgotten jazz and swing hits,” according to the New York Times.

Winehouse pére tells the Times he “taught Amy to sing when she was a baby… And when her first album came out, and she was doing shows, she would get me onstage to do a couple of songs, and it’s always great fun.” The album, he says, was Amy’s idea. “‘You know what, Dad? You have to make an album.’ I said, ‘Are you crazy?’ And she said, ‘No, you have a great voice, this is terrific,’” he told the Times. After Amy Winehouse’s well-publicized flameouts, father and daughter put the project “on the back burner. Then she got better, and we decided to give it a go.”

The elder Winehouse also gets misty-eyed about his upbringing in London’s East End, “which is where most Jewish people come from. And we had a very, very close-knit family. My father was a barber and then he became a London taxi driver. Most Jewish guys in those years did that. Unless they were doctors. It was either doctors, solicitors, accountants or cab drivers,” Winehouse recalls. “The community was fantastic, a really fabulous community, which is not there anymore. It’s all gone.”

While confident of his own talent, Winehouse tells the Times he has no illusions about success without his daughter’s brand name as a catapult. “What I’ve said is, and I’m being glib, it was my name first. I was here before Amy. But I know that I only got the chance to make the album because I was Amy’s dad.

“I can sing,” he continues. “And I can assure you with all the people around me who love me and respect me, they wouldn’t let me do it if they thought I was going to screw it up.”


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