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CD Review: Hartford

Midler captures Clooney’s magic

Rosemary Clooney had to be talked into recording “Come On-a My House” in 1951. It turned out pretty well. More than 50 years later, Bette Midler had to be talked into recording the same song on a tribute album to Clooney. It, too, turned out pretty well.

“Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook” is a labor of love that bursts with appreciation for the talents of one of the classic singers of the 20th century. Clooney, who died last year, touched songs such as “You’ll Never Know,” “Hey There,” “Tenderly” and “White Christmas” and made them as much a part of the American experience as baseball and apple pie.

Those songs are among the Clooney hits Midler deftly handles on a joyous and touching (sometimes heartbreakingly beautiful) recording that reunites the saucy chanteuse with her original piano accompanist and musical director, Barry Manilow.

Listening to her sing “White Christmas” not only brings back Clooney, it brings a tear to the eye, and when was the last time an album did that?

Greg Morago, Hartford Courant

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