Picks and Pans Review: Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook

updated 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bette Midler

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It's hard to imagine anyone who would have been better for this Rosemary Clooney tribute than the Divine Miss M. With just the right combination of swing and sass, Midler perfectly captures the spirit of the pop-jazz chanteuse, who rose to fame in the '50s and died at 74 last year. The disc reunites Midler with Barry Manilow, who produced her first two albums. Manilow coproduced this CD, plus he sings and plays piano on a playful, punchy version of "On a Slow Boat to China." Midler seems to be having a blast with these faithful yet fresh renditions, making Clooney classics like 1951's "Come on-a My House" inviting once again.

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