Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 7. 11th April 1973
The Divine Miss M. Bette Midler. Atlantic
The Divine Miss M. Bette Midler. Atlantic.
From the Art Novveau cover we can see this is 'no ordinary' record. So you've never heard of Bette Midler — The Divine Miss M? Well witness her debut. The variety of material on this record is surprising but the choke is consistently good.
The album starts with her single Do you want to dance and she sings this pop classic with a sensitivity and simplicity that the original never had. The Shangri-las' marvel Leader of the Pack is featured and naturally it's: "Bette is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing"? She tings Chapel of Love a song from the same era which is also great fun. So much for sixties' nostalgia.
Am I Blue, a melancholy bluet finishes this first side and it is a ballad worthy of Barbara Streisand. Indeed, comparisons with Streisand seem easy to make; Friends begins and ends side two and from what I read, this song is to Bene Midler what People is to Streisand.
Delta Dawn is the high-point of the album and this ballad shows this woman's vocal talent better than any other song. It tells a strange Tennessee Williams-ish story with the lyric: "She was forty-one and her daddy still called her baby".
Another high-point is a faultless imitation of the honeyed harmonies of the Andrew Sisters on Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, a superb combination of nostalgia, novelty and camp.
Bette Midler made her second entrance at New York's Philharmonic Hall at midnight, last New Year's Eve as the New Year Baby, clad in diapers with a huge silver safety-pin and a vinyl sash. "A star is born" — indeed? This type of crap is great fun and doesn't Camp work by making what was once vulgar, delightfully trendy? Anyway it's glorious publicity. I don't really care for that but I don't suppose Miss M. can either. The important thing is the music and this it a fine record and Bette Midler deserves to be a star.