BootLeg Betty

Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler reissue classics in expanded form

Miami Herald
Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler reissue classics in expanded form
BY HOWARD COHEN
OCTOBER 28, 2016 12:09 PM

getready album BETTE DELUXE

▪ Stevie Nicks, “Bella Donna (Deluxe)”, “The Wild Heart (Deluxe).” Stevie Nicks’ first two solo albums are remastered and expanded with demos and outtakes. “Bella Donna,” a No. 1 album in 1981, becomes a three-disc package, with a live disc from a short tour, highlighted by the 1981 outtake, “Gold and Braid” and a scorching cover of Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know.”

The outtakes include “Blue Lamp,” from the “Heavy Metal” soundtrack and “Sleeping Angel” from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Also, a previously unreleased version of the non-LP track, “The Dealer,” and the title track’s demo.

“The Wild Heart” adds a second disc that includes a raw session outtake of the title track and “Violet and Blue” from the “Against All Odds” soundtrack. Also, unreleased versions of “All the Beautiful Worlds” and “Dial the Number” and the “Stand Back” single’s B-side, “Garbo.”

▪ Bette Midler, “The Divine Miss M Deluxe.” Expanded two-disc reissue of her classic 1972 debut includes demos (including a cover of Eagles’ “Saturday Night”), singles mixes and outtakes like the amusing “Marihuana.”

What makes Midler’s first album such a remarkable achievement, beyond the top-shelf musicianship from jazz and rock pros and a pre-fame Barry Manilow’s arrangements and production, are her expressive vocals. Midler can be brassy and campy on ’60s girl group covers like “Chapel of Love” but in her prime, here, no one could match her emotional connection to good material.

Every bit the actress, Midler inhabits her cover of “Superstar” so intimately — especially an alternate version on disc two — listeners almost feel as if they are intruding on something so personal it feels intrusive. But that’s an experience with the Divine that is to be cherished.

Midler, who would earn Grammy’s Best New Artist award and an Album of the Year nomination for this recording, was never better in the studio.

Share A little Divinity
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