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Bette Midler - Jackpot! The Best Bette
hits the jackpot
Review by Andy ArgyrakisNow that Bette Midler's a Las Vegas concert staple, it's only fitting that her record label releases a retrospective coinciding with the show and catching fans up to speed since 1993's Experience the Divine. Though not all the discs she's cut between now and then are represented, her key tributes to Rosemary Clooney and The Temptations are included, along with a Christmas cut and previously unreleased track. Outside of the breezy ballad "Something Your Heart Has Been Telling Me," that might not seem all that enticing at first for those who already own Midler's studio CDs, but then again this disc is much more inclusive and comprehensive than her previous retrospectives.
In fact, Jackpot! adds the singer's criminally overlooked cover of the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden," showcasing the rugged side of this bawdy bathhouse alum. And in perfect counterbalance, Midler's sweet side is also on display from obvious anthems like "The Rose" and "Wind Beneath My Wings" to Clooney's cozy "Tenderly." Her '90s staple "From a Distance" also sounds crystal clear under these remastered contexts, while the message of peace and unity remains just as timely as when the tune was tied in with the first Gulf War.
Material from The Divine Miss M and Beaches earn the highest representation ratios, with the John Prine-penned "Hello In There" serving as a poignant highlight of the former, while Cole Porter's jazzy "I've Still Got My Health" from the latter is yet another timeless example of Midler's deft interpretive skills. There really isn't an angle the diva can't tackle, as evidenced by the charming holiday selection "Cool Yule," suggesting this is indeed an album for all seasons. Now all die-hards need is a new studio CD or live DVD from her Sin City stint, though in the meantime, Bette truly does hit the Jackpot!
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