The Divine Miss M

The Divine Miss M

by Bette Midler

CD(Special Edition)

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Overview

Bette Midler was one of the last major artists who emerged from the traditions of nightclub performing, after rock & roll changed the rules of the music business, though she was a singer capable of working both sides of the fence. Midler's approach bore more than a passing resemblance to the traditions of supper-club performers wearing their hearts on their sleeves for the audience, but she could balance sincerity and a deep respect for songcraft with a large dose of camp and broad humor, coupled with a love of R&B and girl group sounds that put her within a stone's throw of rock. (And if the nightspot where Midler first found her audience was a gay bathhouse in New York, that was just one more wrinkle that separated her from the major nightclub acts of the '50s and '60s.) Midler's 1972 debut album, The Divine Miss M, gave her an ideal introduction to the listening audience, a set that honored her brassy and introspective sides with equal care and skill. While Midler was and is best known for her outgoing stage persona, numbers like "Am I Blue" and "Do You Want to Dance?" demonstrate how much emotional heat she can bring to a torch song, and her interpretations of "Delta Dawn" and "Hello in There" are powerful, moving stuff, portraying their characters with a palpable compassion and nuance. Midler's loving renditions of "Chapel of Love" and "Leader of the Pack" show how much she learned from Brill Building pop, and "Friends," which opened and closed side two, made clear Midler could wrap some very complicated emotions in a catchy (but smart) pop tune. And the production (half by Joel Dorn, half by Geoffrey Haslam, Ahmet Ertegun, and Midler's then musical director, Barry Manilow) knows when to move in close to catch the sweet grain of her voice and when to step back and take in the whole show. If Midler matured as a performer with time, The Divine Miss M remains her best album, one that captured the many facets of her musical personality beautifully and showed her quirks were not flaws but a rich part of what made her music so powerful. [In 2016, Rhino Records reissued The Divine Miss M in an expanded two-disc edition, though all the music on the new set would have fit on one CD. The audio is splendid and catches the details of the arrangements and Midler's voice very well. The bonus material includes tighter-sounding single mixes that were released on four tunes, three outtakes from the album (two of which, "Old Cape Cod" and "Marihuana," would be reworked for the 1976 album Songs for the New Depression), and a pair of previously unreleased demos. The package also includes a short but witty liner essay from Midler, and if this isn't a major upgrade from previous CD releases, it's a great-sounding release of a brilliant album that has worn well with time.]

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2016
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0081227943264
catalogNumber: 556905
Rank: 267973

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bette Midler   Primary Artist,Vocals
Melissa Manchester   Children's Chorus
Barry Manilow   Piano,Strings,Conductor,Horn,Background Vocals
Ron Carter   Bass
Dick Hyman   Piano
Ralph MacDonald   Percussion,Strings,Horn
Don Arnone   Guitar
Renelle Broxton   Background Vocals
Cissy Houston   Background Vocals
Selwart Clarke   Viola
Michael Federal   Bass,Strings,Horn,Background Vocals
Emanuel Green   Violin
Milt Hinton   Bass
Gail Kantor   Children's Chorus
Ray Lucas   Drums
Beverly McKenzie   Background Vocals
Merle Miller   Children's Chorus
Kermit Moore   Cello
Gene Orloff   Violin
Pat Rebillot   Piano
David Spinozza   Guitar
Deidre Tuck   Background Vocals
Kevin Ellman   Drums
Dickie Frank   Guitar
Ted Sommer   Drums,Horn

Technical Credits

Don Henley   Composer
Barry Manilow   Arranger,Producer
Randy Meisner   Composer
Leon Russell   Composer
Bonnie Bramlett   Composer
Ellie Greenwich   Composer
Buzzy Linhart   Composer
Phil Spector   Composer
Jeff Barry   Composer
Thom Bell   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Joel Dorn   Producer
Ahmet Ertegun   Producer
Bobby Freeman   Composer
Glenn Frey   Composer
Geoffrey Haslam   Producer,Remixing
Bill Inglot   Reissue Producer
Bernie Leadon   Composer
Bob Liftin   Remixing
Arif Mardin   Arranger
Marty Nelson   Vocal Arrangements
Hughie Prince   Composer
Don Raye   Composer
Richard Mantel   Art Direction,Cover Art
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Sam Coslow   Composer
Claire Rothrock   Composer
Milton Yakus   Composer
Richard Amsel   Cover Illustration
Allan Jeffrey   Composer
Lew Hahn   Engineer,Remixing
Mark Klingman   Composer
Williams S. Fisher   String Arrangements
Kew Hahn   Engineer

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