From I Blame Coco to Lily Allen to Willow Smith, the current music scene is littered with artists who have undeniably received an industry leg-up thanks to their famous parents, but the number of singers riding on the coat-tails of their children's careers is much smaller. Mitch Winehouse, father of the late jazz-pop vocalist Amy, is one of the select few to make the leap the other way, after abandoning his taxi-driving duties in favor of a recording career, which most will say proves that the age-old practice of nepotism is still well and truly alive. Unlike the retro-soul of Amy's god-daughter Dionne Bromfield, another artist to receive significant attention thanks to her family connection, the cheeky chappie's debut, Rush of Love, focuses on the swing classics that he regularly used to watch his mum and auntie dance to as a child, and later belt out during karaoke sessions whilst his famous daughter was growing up. While karaoke is the first thing that springs to mind on its 11 tracks, thanks to his admittedly tuneful but entirely derivative and faux-American tones, Rush of Love is by no means the lazy and uninspired collection of standards you might expect. Putting Robbie Williams and Westlife's big-band efforts to shame, Winehouse has wisely opted to ignore the ubiquitous likes of "My Way," "Mack the Knife," and "Mr. Bojangles" in favor of a number of lesser-known and obscure classics from the '30s and '40s, which if nothing else, shows that he certainly knows his stuff. Backed by a full-piece orchestra, Winehouse does his best Tony Bennett impression on renditions of Broadway musical Walk A Little Faster's number "April in Paris," Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova-tinged "How Insensitive," and Mildred Bailey's "Please Be Kind," alongside several lesser-known tracks plucked from the repertoire of idol Frank Sinatra, including "Close Your Eyes," "You Go to My Head," and "Day by Day." Even more surprising is that four original compositions, all penned by longtime friend Tony Hiller (Brotherhood of Man), also appear, and while the shuffling "Rush of Love to the Heart," the twinkling, piano bar-style "Tell Me," and the orchestral jazz of "More Broken Hearts" pale in comparison to the timeless old-school material, they are admirable attempts to give Winehouse his own identity. Rush of Love is rather soured by the fact that it wouldn't have been produced had it not been for his daughter's tragic tabloid-friendly activities, but while it won't be giving Michael Bublé any restless nights, it's a likeable and unexpectedly slick affair which is more creative than it has any right to be.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien