Bette Midler

Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook

This album is a really good idea that almost lives up to its promise. Bette Midler has both a voice that can match the late Rosemary Clooney for depth and warmth, and more than a passing acquaintance with the old standards. Barry Manilow—don’t laugh—reprises his early role as Midler’s musical director, and he keeps the arrangements lush without them being overwhelming. But the smarmy patter on “On A Slow Boat To China” is way over the top. He shouldn’t sing with Midler, and neither should Linda Ronstadt. Their respective duets with Midler found them completely overwhelmed by her voice. That said, Midler’s versions of “This Ole House” and “Hey There” rival the originals. And the Divine Miss M was born to sing “Come On-A My House.” I’m still hitting the replay button.