Anita Baker – 1986 – Rapture

OK folks. Here is one that Nikos and I (Trakbuv) have been discussing for a while – the idea to have a few more posts from the 1980s, and a few more of those all-time classics. And one album that always pops out as a united chorus is Anita Baker‘s “Rapture”. And could you really pick a better LP to represent the decade ? This is in Nikos’ Top 5 for the 1980s.  Goodness – and you’re willing for me to do the review ? That’s delegation at its most vicious ! Well, I will try and do justice to the importance of this post.

And for those in the know, dust off and relive the experience with me and brother Nikos. And to those of you who haven’t heard of this LP – I hope you come in peace – and welcome to our planet.

Tracks
A1 Sweet Love 4.26
A2 You Bring Me Joy 4.24
A3 Caught Up In A Rapture 5.07
A4 Been So Long 5.07
B1 Mystery 4.56
B2 No One In The World 4.10
B3 Same Ole Love 4.05
B4 Watch Your Step 4.54

Back in 1983 there was a buzz going around about someone called Anita Baker, but none of the UK deejays had managed to grab a copy of the LP. Then it appeared in the import shops and they couldn’t get it on the turntables quick enough. A few months later I managed to get my own beautiful gatefold copy on import. And playing those first tracks of Side A simply cannot be measured by time or space. And then I had to wait 3 years to hear her grace my speakers again, with “The Songstress” now worn to a wafer. But boy oh boy, was the wait worth the anguished pain. This time every DJ played the whole of “Rapture” over a single weekend – no-one could decide what was the best track, and ended up playing different tracks on different shows – always a rubber stamp of something very special in the offing. And in memory of this monumental event, I will try and break it down track by track.

Lead out with the big guns why don’t you. “Sweet love” is probably the most perfect song for someone of Anita’s incredible vocal stature. Like Al Pacino in the Godfather, she was born to play this part. Anyone even attempting one note of this song is purely making a mockery of themselves. A song that should be heard on every planet in the Universe to understand what the intrinsic power of the human race sounds like !! What must the studio session have felt like after killing it with this take – and what would I give to have been there ?

“You Bring Me Joy” is a song written by blue-eyed soulster David Lasley. To my knowledge, this first appeared on Norman Connors’ “Take It To The Limit” sung by the utterly brilliant Adaritha (another one of my favourite songbirds), although her treatment was poor by her standards. Far more satisfying is David Lasley’s own falsetto workout. But Anita takes this to a whole new level. The production is exceptional and provides the perfect framework for Anita to take your tender heart on a giddying, entrancing swirl on the whirlwind of love. You need to play this several times to really appreciate the genius subtly gracing its majesty.

Probably the most gentle track on display. “Caught Up In A Rapture” has a strong resonance from her “The Songstress” debut, in particular “Will you be mine”, and captures the term ‘wafting beauty’ with utmost ease. And one to sway the ‘wafting beauty’ of your life in the security of your arms and demonstrate how the synchronicity of the movement of two can become one.

Oh my – BIG highlight for me coming up next !! Forget the fact that Anita Baker can out sing anyone out there today. Forget the song being an exceptional showcase for her songwriting skills. It is the thought that this song started from a blank page and Anita turned out a Renoir in just over 5 minutes. Forget the vocal histrionics that cloud our judgement today – the ability to make your own music around the melody is the mark of a true artist. And bless you Anita for making the human voice the match of any other instrument or its master, and so much more !!  For me, “Been So Long” is one of her greatest achievements right here.

“Mystery” is the weakest link. It fit quite snuggly on the Rod Temperton-influenced ‘Bodies and Souls’ LP by Manhattan Transfer (containing the wonderful ‘This Independence’ song), but doesn’t feel quite mature enough for an album like this. Having said that, it is of course a very commendable version that far outshines the original. As a side note, I recall George Benson doing a cover of Heatwave’s (and Rod Temperton’s) ‘Star of a story’. I remember thinking “why ?” in this instance too. On this occasion, I felt Quincy Jones had decimated something that was utterly exquisite. But I think I am one of the few people that wishes Rod Temperton had never met Quincy Jones, having been a big admirer of Heatwave from their first promos.


“No One In The World” is another big ballad that she makes totally her own. Imagine say Whitney Houston singing this – as great a singer she is – big booming chorus and those hit you around the head with a sledgehammer pyrotechnics. Now listen to Anita doing the very same thing. For me one is a master – but Anita is the magician ! And it simply ends too soon – which begs the question – had the engineer eaten something disagreeable the night before ?!

And on “Same Ole Love”, we almost break sweat. There is a gorgeous upbeat glow to the affirmation of a lifetime love – and Anita making that bright ball of optimism so tingly tangible. Wonderful.

And as we entered with Anita co-writing “Sweet Love”, we close with another classic from her pen. “Watch Your Step” is another BIG highlight for me. Oh Lordy, Anita – tell it till it bleeds – ‘the way you live your life !’. Testifying so it hurts so much that you wish you were that person changing their ways. Anita – whatever you say – I’m utterly in your power !

The variety and careful choice of songs, the rich and mature productions – these all make this one of the greatest ever recordings. But it is the proud fatherhood of seeing an artist of Anita’s promise find a showcase that perfectly captures the rapture of her god-given talent. So many artists of her stature never have this moment, and I for one was in tears to hear and subsequently see that rare opportunity fulfilled.

Thank you Anita and to everybody that bought this LP and gave the general public a glimpse of real soul and maybe even an epiphany of why it is so important to us.

A gem that every of you should own. Buy your vinyl copy / CD and Cassette!!!

—————————————-

A new year has just started and we’d like to thank you for your support so far. We begin with an amazing album that Trakbuv and I really adore.  There will definitely be some changes in our site, as we try to upgrade it and have a new look as well.
We really appreciate if you played a more active role with your comments, your remarks and why not, ask albums to be posted.
Enjoy and bless yall.

 

Buy the AlbumAnita Baker – 1986 – Rapture

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Conversation for album: Anita Baker – 1986 – Rapture

35 Comments
  • Soul is the Music
    Posted at 02:44h, 07 January 2011 Reply

    I think, if I’m not mistaken, what makes this recording stand out from her first album was the fact that she was the producer. Once she took the reigns in the studio, she never looked back. The love songs are pure and honest. Anita Baker stood out because, she has an influence of Jazz. This foundation makes Anita stand out from any other pop singer, that I knew of, at the time this album emerged. She was and always will be in a class by herself.

  • bowlisha1
    Posted at 07:18h, 07 January 2011 Reply

    Happy New Year to the entire FMS family.

    Great way to begin the new year with a true classic and it’s um um good!

  • Lynchie from Aberdeen
    Posted at 08:02h, 07 January 2011 Reply

    What a voice! What power. Gives me goosebumps listening to No One In The Wolrd and Watch Your Step. As good as Aretha at her finest. Pure soul. Joyous.

    Good luck to you in 2011.

  • Raptronic
    Posted at 16:49h, 07 January 2011 Reply

    Rapture, Anita Baker’s commercial breakthrough, was truly one of the greatest adult-contemporary recordings of the decade, and the album sounds just as fresh and wonderful today as when it was first released in 1986. Baker’s moody yet powerful voice is given its due on this first-rate collection of songs, most notably “Sweet Love,” “Caught Up In The Rapture” and “No One In The World.” This tasteful and romantic gem stands as Baker’s best album.

  • jos
    Posted at 11:01h, 08 January 2011 Reply

    Happy New Year w

  • Virginia
    Posted at 13:59h, 09 January 2011 Reply

    i loved the days when singers could actually SING and there was actual meaning in what they were singing…

  • Amelia
    Posted at 14:10h, 09 January 2011 Reply

    This is such a great album by Anita!:) I can listen to this over and over again! So SMOOOOOOOTH!! Thanks for sharing. I couldn’t agree any more with that review.

  • Jess
    Posted at 23:11h, 09 January 2011 Reply

    timeless classical….

  • MsMerising
    Posted at 09:49h, 10 January 2011 Reply

    Was listening to this only last night. Anita’s voice is like deep, dark chocolate – oh so rich and rewarding for the palette 😀 Mx

  • Mike
    Posted at 12:01h, 10 January 2011 Reply

    I love Anita. She is the fabulous. She will touch your very heart and soul!

  • mavrtje
    Posted at 14:23h, 10 January 2011 Reply

    I love her.

    Efcharisto!

  • Adam
    Posted at 23:30h, 10 January 2011 Reply

    So cool. i started listening to the classics when i was 14 and i am so hooked. Anita baker is truly a legend.

  • pegasi
    Posted at 04:54h, 11 January 2011 Reply

    I generally tuned out to R&B music during the 80s, so much of it was just simply awful, but this album was certainly a stand out and Anita was the most soulful singer of the decade. But it’s “Songstress” I keep going back to, maybe because the songs on “Rapture” are still played on the radio so often. There’s a rawer quality in “Songstress” than in “Rapture.” There are notes Anita hits in “Songstress” I’m pretty sure she can’t hit anymore, especially on songs like “No More Tears.” Since your posting 80s albums how about Chaka Khan’s “What You Gonna Do For Me.” Some may consider the album over produced, but I still loved going to the clubs and hearing say a remix of “I know you, I live you” with Chaka wailing from speakers.

  • Chris
    Posted at 13:17h, 11 January 2011 Reply

    Thanks for sharing the cream of black music.

  • mellowgangsta
    Posted at 14:01h, 11 January 2011 Reply

    If want 2 explain what soul music is about, don´t talk, don´t argue just play this album. The best ever recorded!

    Can´t wait for this:
    “Baker will be releasing a new album in the beginning of 2011 entitled “21st Century Love”, her seventh studio album, which will be released on Blue Note Records/EMI”…. as found on Wiki and on her homepage

    Thanx for this legendary start in 2011.

    maybe it is a good idea to post some of the chapter 8 stuff. I think I rembember the incredible Mr.Moo post some of this band on WDF.

    your´s mellow

  • hooch
    Posted at 16:04h, 12 January 2011 Reply

    Thank you – lovely album indeed!

  • Anastasia
    Posted at 23:02h, 12 January 2011 Reply

    Mary J Blige once said this album saved her life. Im not surprised because it made mine.

  • DL
    Posted at 00:41h, 13 January 2011 Reply

    Not a bad song. All the songs are fantastic. Great post.

  • Alfonso
    Posted at 16:49h, 13 January 2011 Reply

    A great opportunity to know more about this classic album. Great rip and review. Thank you.

  • Roger
    Posted at 15:26h, 14 January 2011 Reply

    Thank you,much appreciated again

  • Nikki
    Posted at 17:36h, 15 January 2011 Reply

    It’s been a long time since I heard this so thanks for sharing. An R’n’B opus.

  • Rio
    Posted at 17:41h, 15 January 2011 Reply

    One of the best albums on vinyl in my collection. Thanks for the remastered edition.A must have for everyone.

  • gucci
    Posted at 13:30h, 16 January 2011 Reply

    thanks for sharing this guys!

  • Rick
    Posted at 14:16h, 17 January 2011 Reply

    Brilliant! A gem of an album indeed.

  • Jose
    Posted at 20:48h, 17 January 2011 Reply

    Obrigado!

  • Martini
    Posted at 23:20h, 17 January 2011 Reply

    Great post! I haven’t listened to this album before, thanks for sharing! 🙂 peace!

  • Desmond
    Posted at 17:23h, 20 January 2011 Reply

    A must have. A masterpiece of modern soul.

  • bobbih2
    Posted at 18:12h, 21 January 2011 Reply

    Fabulous record: I have the tape and the LP and ripped them both. This album is a must have for anyone’s Soul collection. BTW, I also think that much of the Soul of the 80’s was terrible! ]: Anita Baker’s work was one of the exception to the rule of releasing redundant and uninspired music during that era.

  • Javier
    Posted at 17:14h, 25 January 2011 Reply

    This is A MUST for al R’n’B lovers, or for any music fan, actually. I cannot recommend this album enough…

  • Marios
    Posted at 14:31h, 30 January 2011 Reply

    This is great. You can’t never have too much Anita. Sure in my top 10 too.

  • G.L.
    Posted at 17:12h, 06 February 2011 Reply

    Simply amazing.

  • Sunez
    Posted at 21:04h, 16 March 2011 Reply

    Anita Baker, my favorite lady soul singer. Her voice easily still matches with anyone and is completely lovely. Saw her with my Queen in concert in 2007 and it was incredible. Great post and love the build on Anita.

    Peace, Sunez

  • yaanno
    Posted at 10:25h, 08 May 2013 Reply

    could you please re-upload this amazing album somewhere? thanks!

  • santoscurser
    Posted at 16:49h, 31 January 2014 Reply

    I think there is something wrong with the Anita Baker VIDEO file… My download does not play after about ten seconds.
    Also it does not make much sense even uploading low-res videos for which someone can probably find bigger and clearer video of the same performance on youtube.
    Is the original on disc that small a file? The general rule is that for playing time if the video is not over 10 megabytes per minute of play you are not going to like the resolution… in fact at least 20 meg per minute is closer to a good image.

  • nik
    Posted at 21:50h, 30 April 2015 Reply

    many thanks for this classic.

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