The talented Bette Midler arrived on the radar with the release of her multi-hit platinum album, The Divine Miss M. That album contained the sultry cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want To Dance?”, and that song’s follow-up hit, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. That happened in 1972. Since, Bette Midler would deliver album after album to a captive audience, who would keep her busy.
Her self-titled Bette Midler album, seemingly a more proper introduction of her full name, would follow The Divine Miss M. Released in 1973, the under-appreciated Bette Midler album attempted a similar approach with a nice variety of cover tune that included a sweet and brilliant version of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”, and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark”. Of the album’s ten tracks, only “In The Mood” was issued as a single, carrying forward the style and weight of her “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” cover.
When she released her following album some three years after her eponymous second album, it proved to be a popular addition to Bette Midler’s catalog. Songs For the New Depression, issued in 1976, produced three singles that included her disco-styled dance cover of “Strangers In the Night”, a superb cover of Tom Waits’ “Shiver Me Timbers”, and a duet with Bob Dylan of Dylan’s own “Buckets Of Rain”. But Songs For The New Depression would not stop there. Her stunning cover of “I Don’t Want The Night To End” by Phoebe Snow would add more solid weight to the album.
Song For The New Depression would prove to be a strong addition, defining the power and charm of Bette Midler. Bette Midler would go on to more success as a singer, and dabble as an actress along the way. However, for me, it was her early entries that have all of my attention, this album being one of them. With participation by Rick Derringer, Dylan, Todd Rundgren, Utopia, The Brecker Brothers just to name a few, this is one of Bette Midler’s finest album.
On July 29, Friday Music will issue a new Reagoso remastered Songs For The New Depression as a Limited Edition CD. There are no added bonus tracks to round out the new set. the last remastering of the album was in 1995.