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-- Berthold Auerbach
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{CD cover} Bathouse Betty
By Bette Midler
Black Mark 661
Review by Michael Cottrell

The other day I went to bed with Bette Midler. OK so I got up, looked outside, said "yuck", then I went back to bed with Bathhouse Betty. My disdain for the morning drifted away with the unfolding of the songs.

Bathhouse Betty is Bette Midler's most recent album. Now I would have to admit reluctantly that Bette Midler is not a great singer. The Divine Miss M. may not be a great singer, but she is a fantastic entertainer. Bathouse Betty provides very entertaining listening. Bette has pulled together some of her favourite songs and composers, giving the album a feeling of a compilation, a collection of loved music. This is a CD you put on when you want to unwind, or simply forget the obligations of a given day. Bette takes you into her zany style with I'm Beautiful, I'm Hip and Ukulele Lady.

{Fur-draped Bette lounging on leopard-print chaise longue}

Placed amongst the almost trademark style are the deeper songs of Leonard Cohen, Song of Bernadette and Adam Cohen's Lullaby in Blue. The CD flows. Just as the listener is dipping into the blues, Midler pulls you back up with some song about boxing. One song of exceptional note: (well it was an exception to me) I thought the CD player had skipped to a new CD and a new singer when Big Socks came on. It is contemporary with a consistent beat that is almost danceable. Hey, if I was not laying in bed bemoaning life, I might have gotten up and danced.

Of course, Midler also offers the style of Wind Beneath My Wings, with songs like How Love Moves and My One True Friend.

Not only is the collection unique for this CD, but so too is the name. Midler one day walked out her door to be confronted by a fanatical fan, a stalker who began screaming out, "Bathhouse Betty, Bathhouse Betty." The entertainer retreated back into safety. She had come a long way since singing in the New York Bathhouse with Barry Manilow accompanying her, but the name stuck.

So I thank Bathhouse Betty for lifting me through my morning and simply entertaining me.

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