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Bathhouse Betty

4.3 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 15, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bathhouse Betty's title harks back to Midler's early days as a favorite of the Manhattan gay community. Its eclectic, surprisingly strong choice of material also recalls the triumphs of her first two albums. Here she discovers a sassy new anthem in "I'm Beautiful," adds Dave Frishberg's wry "I'm Hip" for good measure, and also makes room for R&B classics like Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles' "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" and Big Maybelle's "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show." Singer-songwriters Leonard Cohen ("Song of Bernadette") and Ben Folds ("Boxing," an imagined monologue by Muhammad Ali) help offset the bathos of "My One True Friend," the latest in Midler's series of instant-standard ballads. --Rickey Wright

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Bathhouse Betty's title harks back to Midler's early days as a favorite of the Manhattan gay community. Its eclectic, surprisingly strong choice of material also recalls the triumphs of her first two albums. Here she discovers a sassy new anthem in "I'm Beautiful," adds Dave Frishberg's wry "I'm Hip" for good measure, and also makes room for R&B classics like Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles' "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" and Big Maybelle's "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show." Singer-songwriters Leonard Cohen ("Song of Bernadette") and Ben Folds ("Boxing," an imagined monologue by Muhammad Ali) help offset the bathos of "My One True Friend," the latest in Midler's series of instant-standard ballads. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B00000AG8V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,566 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The Divine Miss M's output has become increasingly slick over the years, and certainly BATHHOUSE BETTE offers one more Bette-Midler-Awash-In-Strings numbers than I care to hear. But while BATHHOUSE BETTE is in some respects predictable, it captures just enough of Midler's legendary fire and spontaneity to make it a solid release--and really the best over-all recording she has done in quite some time.

In truth, Midler really does such over-arranged material as "Song of Bernadette" and "My One True Friend" as well and often quite a bit better than most current recording artists--but what she does best, really, is simply be Bette Midler. And BATHHOUSE BETTE gives her a solid opportunity to do that in a host of songs that range from vintage to recent. The 1920s "Ukulele Lady" has tremendous period charm, and when she launches into the delicate "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" or the wild and woolly "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show," you know you're getting Midler at her unfiltered best.

Along the way Midler also finds room for several of the eccentric numbers that she inevitably performs with such style--a wickedly funny reworking of the danceclub favorite "I'm Beautiful" drops into the mix like an alien from outer space, and the super-sly "Big Socks" finds her doing a narrow-eyed take off on the lyrically-weak, production-heavy likes of Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson.

While this isn't really Bette at her flaming jets best, it's all a lot of fun, beautifully performed, lightly enjoyable, and just scrambled enough in content to occasionally throw you an amusing curve.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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By Jake Z on February 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Bette Midler's 1998 album BATHHOUSE BETTY is truly a treat. After the undeserving lukewarm reception to her 1995 album BETTE OF ROSES, on this release we find Bette as diverse as ever, showcasing many musical styles she has represented throughout her career. This is one of the best albums of her career. The ballads are incredible, and there's some fun camp songs that Bette fans have come to love and expect from the Divine Miss M!
It opens with Leonard Cohen's "Song of Bernadette", a really nice ballad that is very inspiring. Next is the #1 club smash, "I'm Beautiful", a really fun campy song full of attitude and it sounds like it was written for Bette! She puts her stamp on it, and it's a classic. I really like the ballad "Lullaby In Blue", a really reflective piece about a woman who had to give up her daughter when she was on 17, and how she thinks of her all the time and remembers. "Ukelele Lady" is a nice nod to her Hawaiian heritage, another fun song.
She tears it up on the jazzy "I'm Hip". I really enjoy her version of Labelle's "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman", its bluesy and smoltering. "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" is a nice jazzy uptempo song. "Boxing" is an interesting ballad. "Boxing" is a very interesting R&B/dance type song, very tongue in cheek, VERY Bette. "That's How Love Moves" is another beautiful ballad, but the winner to me is "My One True Friend", produced by David Foster. This song just gives me a lump in my throat every time I hear it, it's so beautiful and sad at the same time. She ends the album with the sardonic "Laughing Matters", but it's an interesting take on society.
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Format: Audio CD
I dare you to listen to Ukelele Lady and not go looking for your grass-skirt! This is my favorite song on the cd.I'm Beautiful and One monkey dont stop no show are perfect examples of bathhouse bette at her best.
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By A Customer on June 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
BATHHOUSE BETTY is a return to the ecclectic type of albums Bette made in the beginning of her career, though it's still not nearly as good as her 1972 debut album, THE DIVINE MISS M, which is still her best after nearly 30 years. It comes close at times, but there's still way too many Wind-Beneath-My-Wings-type ballads that drag it down. Her cover of "Song of Bernadette" doesn't even come close to Jennifer Warnes's beautiful, original recording. The only worthwhile ballad is her subtle reading of Ben Fold's "Boxing". The more upbeat songs are the real highlights here, and remind us how wonderful The Divine Miss M can be. "I'm Beautiful", "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" and "Big Socks" are all Bette in peak form. This may not be exactly the album us long-time fans have been waiting for, but it's better then her last studio album, BETTE OF ROSES, where Miss M was trying to be Celine Dion, or Mariah Carey, or one of them imitation divas. BATHHOUSE BETTY shows that Bette can still be the real thing.
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By A Customer on January 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I purchased this CD from this site and I wasn't disappointed! I've played the CD over and over! This CD covers the broad range of Ms. Midlers awesome talents. A few songs on this CD are as emotionally strong as "Wind Beneath my Wings" and "The Rose." If you admire these Bette Midler songs, you'll enjoy this CD!
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Format: Audio CD
Bette Midler's 1998 BATHHOUSE BETTY album is a unique selection of songs, that work extremely well together. This album should please all fans of her music, it incoporates her signature ballads, her adoration for campy songs, a bit of R&B, jazz, and a whole fusion of music. The album features an array of producers such as Arif Mardin, Ted Templemen, Chuckii Booker, David Foster, Marc Shaiman, and Brock Walsh. Also some big name songwriters such as Leonard Cohen, Ben Folds, David Foster, Carole King, Carole Bayer Sager, etc. "I'm Beautiful" was a huge dance hit for Bette, it's very campy and fun. She does a great cover of Patti Labelle and the Bluebelle's "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman", and another great cover of Big Maybelle's "One Monkey Don't Stop Now Show". Another song she does justice is Dave Frishberg's "I'm Hip". Fans of Midler's ballads will love "My One True Friend" which was feauted in the ONE TRUE THING motion picture. "Song of Bernadette" and "Lullaby In Blue" are remarkable songs that stand among her best songs. "That's How Love Moves" is a beautiful song as well. "Big Socks" is another campy fun song, drenched with heavy dance and hip hop beats with sexual lyrics. Overall BATHHOUSE BETTY is a celebration of Bette's music, and her larger than life persona, it shines through and shines bright.
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