Don't mess with the Divas!
Aretha Franklin shows us who's boss on her new CD. “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics” is the lady's tribute to some of the singers who have inspired and moved her. She puts her own unmistakable stamp on each song.
"I'm saving all my loving for someone who's loving me," Franklin proclaims, as she belts out “I Will Survive,” the gay anthem from the 1970s. Then she speaks: "Me! ME!" The Queen of Soul is taking no prisoners. She seems to be explaining, in song after song, why it's called Soul Music. Franklin sings from a place deep within her own soul. She feels each song. It's an emotional journey for both the singer and her listeners.
Franklin reimagines tunes like Barbra Streisand's “People,” Etta James' jazz classic “At Last,” and many others. These popular standards take on a whole new meaning as they're performed by one of soul/pop's most powerful voices. And yet, each track remains true to the spirit of the original.
Bette Midler has fun with “It's The Girls.” In promo videos now posted at YouTube, she appears with a massive head of flipped hair, and is clad in colorful, tight knee length skirts with fabulous high heels. Bette is ready to go out for an evening of dinner and dancing, circa 1962.
For much of the CD, Midler channels the showgirl we know and love. On lively renditions of The Chordette's “Mr. Sandman” or The Andrews Sister's “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon,” a Yiddish pop classic that dates back to the 1930s, Bette sings with that familiar, gleeful twinkle in her voice. Always able to move effortlessly from the campy comedic to the serious, Bette's voice takes on a heartfelt tone with a lovely rendition of The Shirelle's “Baby It's You.”
Bette has always been able to show her serious side. Her take on TLC's “Waterfalls,” a sad ballad about a young life lost, is a heartbreaker.
Four decades after her appearances at the Continental Baths in New York (where she first cultivated her gay audience) the Divine Miss M shows her audience that she still has it.
Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin have been singing for a long time: forty years for Midler, even longer for Franklin. Both achieved Legend status long ago. Now in their third act, they're still at the top of their game. They're as vibrant and as energetic as ever, and their iconic voices have lost none of their power.
Let's hear it for the Divas!
Bette Midler's It's The Girls and Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics are now available.