From The Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975
By Richard Metzger
March 27, 2019
Bob Dylan and Bette Midler recorded together in October 1975 duetting on a cover of “Buckets of Rain” for her Songs for the New Depression album. Dylan apparently also wanted Midler to be a part of his Rolling Thunder Revue. Several years ago, a 27-minute long fly-on-the-wall recording from this session started making the rounds on bootleg sites as part of Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975.
The original bootlegger says:
At one point Midler demures saying, “I can’t sing ‘I ain’t no monkey,’” but Dylan gently coaxed her into it. Moogy Klingman backs them on piano and at one point Dylan sings a full-throated version of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “You Really Got A Hold On Me” with Midler. The Divine Miss M also dishes on Paul Simon, who she says refuses to speak to her.
Midler cattily refers to Patti Smith as well, saying “At least I can sing in tune!” What exactly she is referring to here is not spelled out, but in an interview with Barry Miles, Smith tells the story of Midler throwing a beer in her face at a Dylan-related private event in New York around this time. Maybe she saw Patti as competition for Dylan’s affections? (Midler later revealed that she got to “first base” with Dylan in his Cadillac, so perhaps that’s what the remark and the beer incident was all about?)