As the first Bette Midler compilation since 1993's Experience the Divine, Rhino's 2008 Jackpot: The Best Bette is a bit of a long time coming, but as Midler's time as a Top 40 hitmaker essentially ended around 1993 -- while she had a few hits in the years that followed, none of them beg enough to warrant inclusion here -- there wasn't necessarily a great call for a new collection of her hits. The strange thing is, Experience the Divine was the first U.S. compilation of Midler's career, and it was skewed ever so slightly to her big adult contemporary hits from the late '80s and early '90s, downplaying her career-making vaudeville of the '70s. Jackpot strikes a bit of a better balance between all eras of her career, including the years since 1993, winding up as a better overall portrait of Midler's recordings. Not all of her hits are here but all the big ones are, from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to "Wind Beneath My Wings," rounded out by some sharp selections from albums ranging from 1972's The Divine Miss M to 2003's Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook. As this covers a lot of ground -- including "Cool Yule" -- it doesn't quite gel as well as it seems like it should, but the showy, often campy eclecticism winds up being a fitting testament to Midler's career.
Jackpot: The Best Bette Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine