BootLeg Betty

BetteBack February 26, 1995: Bette Midler Guests On The Manhattan Transfer’s ‘Tonin’

Syracuse Herald Journal
February 26, 1995

MI0001854934

From the “everybody’s doing it, so why can’t we” file comes The Manhattan Transfer, who’ve joined the ranks of pop artists bringing in multitudes of guest stars to fill albums stacked with cover songs.

Produced by Arif Mardin, the disc finds the vocal quartet wrapping impeccably smooth harmonies around the likes of Phil Collins, James Taylor, Ruth Brown and many others.

At its best, “Tonin‘” adds some new sparkle to vintage tracks, like the surprisingly contemporary version of the Association’s reefer anthem “Along Comes Mary,” or the smooth-as-silk pairings with Laura Nyro (“La-La Means I Love You”) and Bette Midler (“It’s Gonna Take a Miracle“).

But just as often the production gets too slick. Even the usually inspired Chaka Khan can’t fire up a tepid take of Sly’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” while a keyboard sounding more like flatulence helps destroy the duet with Smokey Robinson on “I Second That Emotion.”

Timing’s everything, and these “duet” themes get tired mighty fast.

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