August 21, 1993
â– Softly with these Songs: The Best of Roberta Flack. (Atlantic)
â– Experience the Divine: Bette Midlerâ€™s Greatest Hits. (Atlantic)
Atlantic Records must be waxing nostalgic these days if the back-to-back release of two greatest hits compilations is any indication.
* Two great ladies of song, Roberta Flack and Bette Midler, traipse down memory lane â€” and its a pure joy ride for listeners.
These songs of the â€™60s, â€™70s and beyond might have been mired in the bubble gum of oldies radio but for the fact that these talented ladies knew how to turn them into timeless tunes.
Flackâ€™s â€œ Softly With These Songsâ€ is a compilation of Her Grammy-winning hits â€œThe First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,â€ â€œWhere Is the Loveâ€ and â€œKilling Me Softly With His Song,â€ as well as memorable duets with Donny Hathaway (â€œThe Closer I Get to Youâ€ and â€œBack Together gainâ€),Â Peabo Bryson (â€œTonight, I Celebrate My Loveâ€) and Maxi Priest (â€œSet the Night to Musicâ€).
Expression is Midlerâ€™s forte, and hence â€œExperience the Divineâ€ is a fasten-your-seatbelt excursion. It starts off slow with the poignantÂ old-age ballad â€œHello in There,â€ and builds momentum with â€œ Do You Want to Dance?,â€ the hymn-like â€œFrom a Distance,â€ a jazzed-up â€œChapel of Loveâ€ and the swing-time â€œBoogie Woogie Bugle Boy.â€