Wednesday, August 04, 2004


The biggest surprise reissue of the year, at least for me, this CD on the Castle/Sanctuary label combines Annette Peacock's two albums for the Aura label, X-Dreams and The Perfect Release, along with two previously vinyl-only tracks. I wrote about Annette Peacock back when I was first starting out.

If you're already interested in her, or if today's mp3s pique your interest, you'll almost certainly be buying this CD (you don't have much choice...almost everything she's done is out of print). And since it has fantastic liner notes (some cool photos too), I don't see any good reason to regurgitate much of her history.

If you're trying to decide whether to download, here's the quick version: jazz eccentric associated with Gary Peacock and Paul Bley in the 60's, first person (probably) to modify vocals with a synthesizer, David Bowie was a fan, Mick Ronson copied and covered her songs, her song Survival (which is on this CD) is big with the hip-hop crowd for sampling's way funky and very long.

Her big break into mainstream recognition might have come when Kevin Smith included her song My Mama Never Taught Me How To Cook on the soundtrack of Chasing Amy, but the soundtrack never came out on CD.

It might have been nicer if this re-release had paired X-Dreams and her prior album I'm The One, since they're more of a piece. The Perfect Release dips more into funk and jazz fusion, but her voice is still killer. And, if you're coming from a hip-hop or funk direction, you might like The Perfect Release more than I do. Here's the first track, Love's Out To Lunch.

I don't tend to make lists, but if pressed I'd say that her singing on I'm The One is my favorite vocal performance in any genre. It's not on the reissue, but the album it is on I'm The One pops up on eBay frequently and won't break your piggy bank. The first pressing has a neat foil cover. I'm going to strongly urge you to check this song's really amazing the way the Moog-modified bits pop in and out, almost like someone is breaking into the recording.

She also did great ballads like Questions, which is on the reissue. I'm sort of surprised that Bowie hasn't covered this as it seems like it would work with his voice. I'm not saying he'd improve it...

Here's a hip-hop track by Madd Rapper called Bongo Break [not work safe] that samples that song Survival that I mentioned up above. I suspect that a lot of people have used bits of that song. It's nearly 15 minutes long, which is too long for me to post, but you hear it and your first thought is that there are about 18,000 different parts that would make good samples.

Two of Annette's later CDs (otherwise out of print) seem to still be available via CD Baby...I don't recommend them for fans of her more rock oriented stuff. [Oops, looks like one of the two has sold out.]

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