Anita Baker

A Night of Rapture Live

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It's been years since Anita Baker fans got any new material from their diva, but it's coming. 2004 found Baker signing a contract with Blue Note and recording a new album. So if Baker-mania is going to break out amongst the cosmopolitan again, her old home Warner Brothers must feel they've just got to have new Baker product on the shelves. Here Warner Brothers hands the singer over to their reissue imprint, Rhino. The label could have done her fans a big favor if they reissued her 1987 VHS One Night of Rapture on DVD, but instead they lifted the soundtrack and put it on this release. Now Baker had only been in the public's eye for a couple months when this was recorded, and she didn't have that much experience in front of an audience. She's a bit sloppier live and Rapture's big sound has been replaced with an indistinctive band led by Bobby Lyle. The thing that made the video so good is that Baker's warm personality carried the show when the music didn't. Here, you get a taste with three videos on the multimedia portion of the disc. It's a tease, and provides even more evidence that the video should be reissued. The biggest disappointment is one of the few tracks not from the VHS: the lackluster version of "Caught Up in the Rapture," pulled from a Japanese-only EP. This would be a fair collection for most other artists, but considering Baker's usual high standards, it's her least necessary release. Pass unless you have every other bit of Baker product and just can't wait for her Blue Note debut.

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