Anita Baker – Giving You The Best That I Got – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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This White Hot Stamper Anita Baker LP has an AMAZING A+++ SIDE TWO and a great A+ – A++ side one, both very quiet, giving you excellent sound for this ’80s soul classic! We remembered this as a good recording and were still surprised with how good the best copies sounded. All Music Guide gave it four out of five stars, calling it “far superior to most of 1988’s uninspired R&B releases.”

We had a ton of copies for this shootout and can report that the typical pressings tend to be veiled, grainy, and lifeless. Most of them lacked richness, but a few of them had surprising analog qualities that gave the music a smoother, fuller sound.

Side two was cleaner, clearer and more open than nearly every other copy we heard in our shootout. The bottom end was nice and punchy and the energy level was off the charts. A+++, all the way!

Side one was a step down but it still sounds pretty darn good. It’s big and present with good energy and a strong bottom end. The best copies had more of an analog quality but at A+- A++, this is a big step up from the average copy.

Want to hear what the Hot Stampers do that the typical copy doesn’t? It’s as easy as flipping over either of the graded sides, which were each backed with a side that was much more average.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Priceless 
Lead Me Into Love 
Giving You the Best That I Got 
Good Love

Side Two

Rules 
Good Enough 
Just Because 
You Belong to Me

AMG Review

The sizeable following that Anita Baker acquired with Rapture proved quite receptive … Giving You the Best That I Got — an album that’s quite similar to its predecessors. Though not quite on a par with The Songstress or Rapture, Best is far superior to most of 1988’s uninspired R&B releases. Instead of tampering with Rapture’s consistently romantic and mellow soul/pop approach, Elektra brought back that album’s producer, Michael J. Powell, and kept her at the top of the charts with such sleek yet earthy fare as “Just Because” (whose harmonies bring to mind producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, but lack the hip-hop elements they’re quick to employ), “Priceless,” the haunting “Good Love,” and the title song.

Much of Baker’s music has contained jazz overtones, but on the Brazilian-influenced, slightly bossa nova-ish “Good Enough,” Sarah Vaughan’s influence becomes even more apparent — and indicates that she is making a tremendous mistake by not recording outright jazz.