THE BEST OF BETTE, Bette Midler, Atlantic (Warner), 361974.
WHAT an artist to have on your books. Great television too. She made even a Countdown interview coherent and her special the other night was a delight.
In reviewing Bette Midler’s “The Best Of Bette” it’s interesting to reflect how the bulk of the Australian media “discovered” her once she arrived here, but that by that time she already was scheduling more concerts as extras than had been planned for the whole tour. Joan Armatrading was another who had her public before she arrived, and Cleo Laine, although now well established and loved here, was another with full houses before the media “discovered” her. How one picks “the best of many artists puzzles me, but with Bette Midler, such unimaginative labeling is stupidity.
Whatever she does is so good.
What we have on “The Best of Bette” selection of very good material which shows her astonishing range of ability. It is an ability that can wring a song for all it is worth or take an over-exposed piece and overdevelop it further until it becomes a self-generating parody of itself and another vehicle for her great talent.
The songs range from those trite but effective things, ‘In The Mood‘ and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy‘, right through to Dylan’s ‘1 Shall Be Released’, including such delights in cynicism as ‘You’re Moving Out Today‘, which improves immeasurably with careful listening.
A performer of great ability and perception, with a rare facility for an overblown blowsincss of humor, she contains a great spread of talent in a very small container.