BETTE MIDLER SINGS THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY SONGBOOK
Even though numerous record companies are re-releasing Clooney’s songs, Midler’s efforts and apparent understanding of the “popular” songs Clooney made famous in the 1950s bring an energy to what might have been thrown away as dated in the rush to applaud and appreciate the late singer for the jazz that made her popular in the late 20th century. Songs that saw brief shining moments are recreated with bright arrangements and a sense of fun that makes “Mambo Italiano,” “This Ole House,” and “Come On-A My House,” perfectly palatable to people who pooh-poohed and put-down their parents’ generation and the singers who sang for them.
Bette Midler, the divine Miss M, continues to show us what a well-trained voice and slick professionalism can accomplish. If the accent needs to be sharp, it is. If the tone is country, then her voice carries just enough country to pull it off. And if a nudge and a wink are required, she pulls it off. Best of all, Midler sounds like she is having fun doing it.
And the pair of songs lifted from the film “White Christmas,” including title song and the duet “Sisters,” have new arrangements. Adding Linda Ronstadt to the duet was an inspired choice as their voices mesh while adding excellent shading to the notes. – LARRY ROBERTS