The Washington Blade
By WINNIE MCCROY
Dec. 12, 2003
Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook
Like Bette Midler, this album is short and sassy.
Perhaps the best of the bunch, the Divine Miss M joins Barry Manilow, everyone’s favorite gay icon and her original piano player and musical director, to pay tribute to one of the first divas of cabaret in “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook.” Clooney died in June 2002.
Columbia Records’ quality compilation starts slow and steady, with Clooney’s “You’ll Never Know,” and “This Ole House.” The set picks up when Midler croons “On a Slow Boat to China” with her trademark harmonies. And it positively sizzles mid-album, when she belts out very urban renditions of “Come On-A My House,” and “Mambo Italiano.”
In addition to her duet with Manilow on “On a Slow Boat to China,” Midler teams up with Linda Ronstadt on “Sisters.”
The album ends on a sweet, though not syrupy, note with “White Christmas,” which Clooney originally recorded in 1954.