Annette Peacock


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There might be more than a bit of avant-garde diva to Ms. Peacock's persona, but she pulls it off better than most. This tough-to-find LP from 1988 on the small Ironic label showcases her songwriting, singing/speaking, and sociopolitical/radical feminist lyrics in the pared-down context of a funky trio. Peacock plays various keyboards, acoustic and electric, in an off-kilter and free manner, offsetting the intensely grooving bass and drum work of Ed Poole and Simon Price. The lengthy showpiece "Elect Yourself" finds the rhythm team laying down an unstoppable riff as Peacock declaims on top, covering all sorts of topics from sex to government to religion, sometimes singing, other times speaking, always with a sardonic decisiveness and underlying fury. The lyrical content alone would make this recording stand out from the myriad, pallid attempts at "meaningfulness" coming out of the alternative rock scene at the time, but Peacock's writing ability, a quality long recognized in a portion of the jazz world, gives the songs a power and creativity rarely encountered elsewhere. Long before the Divinyls' "controversial" hit "I Touch Myself," listeners find Peacock's infinitely more incisive and to the point "Happy With My Hand," with lines like "And if there's no penetration/You got to use imagination." Lyrics aside, however, it's a joy to hear her unique voice, both singing and writing. Listeners who became familiar with her work through the ECM release An Acrobat's Heart might be surprised to hear this rougher edge. Highly recommended if you can find it.

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