Bette Midler Bootleg Betty

CD Review: MG New Service

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Bette Midler: Sings The Rosemary Clooney Songbook (Columbia)
By Cheryl Schmidt
Media General News Service

Rosemary Clooney deserved a loving tribute album and Midler was the perfect choice for it. Barry Manilow, Midler’s original piano player and musical director, recruited his old pal and the result is divine.

Midler echoes Clooney’s warm voice and good humor. Both women can swing with the best of them.

Clooney’s songs keep their style and class, but also shine from modern arrangements and Midler’s amusing touch. Two of the best are duets: “On a Slow Boat to China,” with Manilow; and “Sisters,” where Linda Ronstadt and Midler make perfect harmony. Other gems are “Hey There,” “Mambo Italiano” and “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.”

Clooney, who died last year, can never be equaled, and Midler isn’t trying to top her – just to honor a true song stylist.

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