John Shore Christian Blog and Commentary

On "A Swingin' Christmas," Tony Bennett and His Daughter Sing Wildly Inappropriate Duet

Be afraid.

For the record, Tony Bennett is one of my all-time favorite singers. His tone; his arrangements; his phrasing, which is a never-ending revelation. The fact that he seems like such a completely decent fellow. All of it. I'm a huge fan.

For some 25 years now, Mr. Bennett's classic 1968 Christmas album, Snowfall, has been cherished by my wife and I. When we play it for the first time each year we sit on our couch, hold hands, cry a bit. We love that album. It's perfect.

So this year we were excited to learn that last year Mr. Bennett released his second Christmas album, A Swingin' Christmas, featuring The Count Basie Big Band. Whoo-hoo! Had all the makings of a Shore household Christmas classic!

So my wife Cat and I bought Swingin' Christmas, sat down, hit the play button, and absolutely reveled in every note of the album, right up until we realized that we were listening to Tony and his daughter Antonia Bennett singing a back-and-forth duet about how completely hot they are for each other.

Tony sings the opening stanza of "I've Got My Love To Keep My Warm" (hello? sound to anyone else, right off, like a song you might not want to sing with your daughter?), and it's so perfect you melt. The guy's wisely mellow chops could fell a sequoia.

For the second stanza, a solo woman's voice kicked in.

"Cool!" I said to Cat. "A duet!" I didn't know anyone but Tony sang on the album. But who could doubt this woman would be excellent? It's not like Tony Bennett has to audition buskers for accompanists.

I was immediately disappointed, though, because this singer was doing that cutsey, super-coy, over-the-top sex-purr thing female vocalists sometimes do when they're young or unsure or poorly managed or whatever.

I rolled my eyes. "What? A sex kitten? And could she lay it on any thicker? How lame."

"That's his daughter," said Cat. As Cat's humor tends to not run along the lines of incest jokes, I was forced to consider that she wasn't kidding.

"Excuse me?" I said, as Antonia sang seductively about her heart being on fire, and the flames growing higher.

"His daughter," deadpanned Cat. "That's Tony Bennett's daughter singing that."

Marilyn Monroe couldn't have poured any more come-hither sensuality into the lines, "Off with my overcoat; off with my gloves. I need no overcoat. I'm burning with love." And then Tony comes back on, diggin' the whole crazy scene. It's unbelievable. How could anyone have let the great Tony Bennett put that song on his album? Surely someone at Sony went, "Wait---that's his daughter?" Was there no one along the line who thought that "Jingle Bells" might have been a more appropriate song choice?

A Swingin' Incestuous Christmas ruined Snowfall for us. How could we ever again enjoy Bennett singing "My Favorite Things," or "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"?

How could anyone?


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