Bette MidlerBathhouse Betty

Bette Midler

1998: Warner Bros 9362-47078-2

  1. Song of Bernadette
  2. I’m Beautiful
  3. Lullaby In Blue
  4. Ukulele Lady
  5. I’m Hip
  6. I Sold My Heart to the Junkman
  7. One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
  8. Boxing
  9. Big Sox
  10. That’s How Love Moves
  11. My True Friend (from the motion picture “One True Thing”)
  12. Laughing Matters

When this album came out I was (briefly) living in Paris, trying to get some kind of work arrangement and sustain my stay there, and I bought the CD to cheer myself up one day when things were really getting me down. It’s a very mixed bag…some of it’s truly schlocky (#10 and #11 are two virtually interchangeable smarm-radio-ready songs fighting with #3 for the Worst Track crown), but it’s not just the comedy songs that she does shine in despite what this would have you think. Her cover of “Boxing” is very moving, and “Ukulele Lady” is surprisingly straight, with its inherent humorous cuteness being allowed to deliver the song; “Big Socks” is good but feels like it could have been better, and both “I’m Beautiful” and “I’m Hip” work well.

However, I would have thought her cover of “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” was O.K. if I didn’t happen to have Big Maybelle Smith’s The Complete OKeh Sessions CD in my collection, on which she does that song exactly as Bette does here. Honestly, Bette—such plagiarism, from you? You’re far too original yourself for that…!