Thighs and Whispers

Thighs and Whispers

by Bette Midler
     
 
The Divine Miss M's sixth release on Atlantic, and the one right before The Rose, finds the singer reunited with producer Arif Mardin, who contributed to her self-titled second album. Despite Bette Midler being in fine voice for Thighs and Whispers, a play on the title Cries and Whispers, a 1972 offering from film director Ingmar Bergman, and

Overview

The Divine Miss M's sixth release on Atlantic, and the one right before The Rose, finds the singer reunited with producer Arif Mardin, who contributed to her self-titled second album. Despite Bette Midler being in fine voice for Thighs and Whispers, a play on the title Cries and Whispers, a 1972 offering from film director Ingmar Bergman, and outside of a terrific version of Johnny Bristol's 1974 Top Ten solo hit "Hang on in There Baby," this 1979 disc is stuck in the '70s when an artist of Midler's stature should have made a recording that was her ode to the decade of decadence. The disco beat on most of the album is an irritant years later, though, as stated, Motown producer Johnny Bristol's "Hang on tn There Baby" survives the incessant drum/high hat sound. "Big Noise From Winnetka," sadly, does not, a future anachronism Mardin avoided with former Midler backup singer Melissa Manchester when "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" added rock to the dance vibe three years later in 1982. "Millworker" and "Cradle Days" are more traditional Midler and for that reason they entertain, her strengths are formidable, and here she goes to those areas of power. Where Bette's second album had co-production from Barry Manilow and the third, Songs for the New Depression, from Mark "Moogy" Klingman, Thighs and Whispers would have benefited with more than one vision. The girl group fascination which was a wonderful point of reference for Bette, reprised somewhat on 1977's Live at Last and 1980's Divine Madness, is missing in action here, though high points like the vocal performance on "Cradle Days" work very well. The disco comes back to haunt "My Knight in Black Leather," a song that would have worked better if it had a bit of techno angst as well as more trendy S & M references. As a sappy dancefloor exercise this version should have been an outtake. And that Jerry Ragovoy co-wrote it is the real shocker -- Midler using his "Stay With Me" to wonderful effect in her film The Rose. Bette's own co-write "Hurricane" works as well as Elton John's Victim of Love failed disco experiment -- which is to say it doesn't. But Mac Rebennack's "Rain" is more than a delight, it's a real diamond in the rough here. "Married Men" closes out the album, and it is disco that works, La Bette's own version of "It's Raining Men" with the flavor of illicit romance an integral part of that decade. Bette Midler is such a consistent and dynamic artist that even she is allowed one exercise in excess. Thighs and Whispers is an uneven album from the harlot starlet which still has its moments.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/29/1995
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678278624
catalogNumber:
82786

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bette Midler   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Luther Vandross   Background Vocals
Warren Bernhardt   Piano,Electric Piano
Phil Bodner   Clarinet,Reeds,Saxophone
Michael Brecker   Reeds,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jon Faddis   Trumpet
Mel Lewis   Drums,Tom-Tom
Tom "Bones" Malone   Trombone
George Young   Reeds,Saxophone
Bernie Leighton   Piano
Robin Clark   Background Vocals
Arthur Freeman   Background Vocals
Billy Gray   Background Vocals
Danny Stiles   Trumpet
Jonathan Abramowitz   Strings
Lamar Alsop   Human Whistle
Phillip Ballou   Background Vocals
Errol Crusher Bennett   Percussion,Conga
Randy Brecker   Trumpet
Eddie Brigati   Background Vocals
A. Brown   Strings
Joe Caro   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Rafael Cruz   Percussion
Eddie Daniels   Reeds,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Steve Ferrone   Drums
Sammy Figueroa   Percussion
Babi Floyd   Background Vocals
John Frosk   Trumpet
John Gale   Trombone
Diva Gray   Background Vocals,Obbligatto Vocals
Robin Grean   Background Vocals
Carl Hall   Background Vocals
Ula Hedwig   Background Vocals
Anthony Jackson   Bass
Arthur Jenkins   Electric Piano
Jack Jennings   Percussion,Marimbas,Background Vocals
Randy Kerber   Synthesizer,Piano,Electric Piano,Mellotron
Will Lee   Bass
Jesse Levy   Cello
Arif Mardin   Percussion,Conductor
George Marge   Reeds,Saxophone
Merle Miller   Background Vocals
Jeff Mironov   Guitar
Gene Orloff   Concert Master
Jocelyn Shaw   Background Vocals
Alan Shulman   Strings
Billy Slapin   Reeds,Saxophone
David Spinozza   Acoustic Guitar
Richard Tee   Piano
Fonzi Thornton   Background Vocals
David Tofani   Reeds,Saxophone
Ed Walsh   Synthesizer
Willie Weeks   Bass
Frank Wess   Reeds,Saxophone
M. Wright   Strings
Jim Maxwell   Bagpipes
Lew Del Gatto   Reeds,Saxophone
Ken Williams   Bass (Vocal)
J. Levy   Strings

Technical Credits

Bonnie Bramlett   Composer
Jimmy Douglass   Engineer
Lewis Hahn   Engineer
Arif Mardin   Producer,Horn Arrangements
Gene Paul   Engineer
Jerry Ragovoy   Producer
Marc Shaiman   Vocal Arrangements
Bobby Warner   Engineer
Stephen Innocenzi   Remixing
Sandi Young   Art Direction

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