Bette Midler Bette Midler
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- Released: May 20, 2008
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Rhino Flashback
- 2.Drinking Again
- 3.Breaking Up Somebody's Home
- 4.Surabaya Johnny
- 5.I Shall Be Released
- 6.Optimistic Voices / Lullaby Of Broadway
- 7.In The Mood
- 8.Uptown / Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)/Da Doo Run Run
- 10.Higher & Higher (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me)
Personnel includes: Bette Midler (vocals); David Spinozza, Hugh McCracken (guitar); Barry Manilow (piano, percussion); Ken Ascher, Don Grolnick (keyboards); Kenneth Bichel (synthesizer); Milt Hinton, Will Lee (bass); Grady Tate, Bernard Purdie (drums); Ralph MacDonald, Arif Mardin (percussion).
Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York, New York.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
A cross between Cleo Laine, Ethel Merman, and Laura Nyro, Bette Midler's eccentric performances blending jazz, soul, and pop with Broadway elan rose to the level of phenomenon in the early 1970s. Her striking 1973 self-titled debut captures just hints of her electric, versatile self, but even that makes for one impassioned record. She opens on a pair of breathtaking, timeless versions of Johnny Mercer-related standards, opening with "Skylark" (with a gentle operatic sound hinting at her million-selling singles years later). That softness quickly gives way to a vaudeville-esque craziness, including the flirty "Breaking Up Somebody's Home," her trademark gospel-tinged version of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," and ending on the Philly-soul-meets-African-drum inspired take on Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher."
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