Consumer Guide Album
Bette Midler: The Divine Miss M [Atlantic, 1972]
Midler thinks "cabaret" encompasses every emotion and aspiration ever transfixed by pop music. People who've seen her like this record more than people who haven't, which isn't good. But as someone who's been entranced by her show many times I'm grateful for a production that suggests its nutty quality without distracting from her voice, a rich instrument of surprising precision, simultaneously delicate and vulgar. I'd ease up on the '60s nostalgia by replacing "Chapel of Love" with "Empty Bed Blues," but anybody who can expose "Leader of the Pack"'s exploration of the conflict between love and authority has a right.