Annette Peacock – I’m the One

January 01, 1970

(Future Days/Light In the Attic)


Originally released in 1972, I’m the One is one of those records that makes you think: only in the ‘70s. On the one hand, this
debut solo record by Annette Peacock (following the experimental Revenge, made with her then-husband Paul
Bley) has the earmarks of  an early ‘70s
singer/songwriter LP: introspection, warm production, the kind of
R&B-flavored melodies and singing that Laura Nyro had made her own a few
years earlier. On the other hand, there’s an almost casual avant-garde streak running through the songs that no doubt
prevented this album from catching on with the Carole King crowd. (To the
credit of RCA, who signed Peacock not long after taking on David Bowie and Lou
Reed, that never seemed to be the audience at whom either label or artist was


Peacock began her career married to adventurous jazz bassist
Gary Peacock, toured with free jazz saxist Albert Ayler and had some of her
more outré compositions featured on Bley’s
albums. She and her husband were some of the first musicians to explore the use
of the synthesizer outside of purely experimental music; here, she runs her
robust vocals through modular synths. Only occasionally coloring her lyrics
with electronic fairy dust, Peacock sticks to synth fills and solos generated
by her voice, which often slash through the songs with the imprecision of an
amateur swordsperson. The funky sexuality of “Pony,” the soulful emotion of
“One Way” and the jazzy theatrics of “I’m the One” dance, even duel with
Peacock’s synth assertions, but always come to a draw, and it’s that tension
that gives the record its power. That’s not to say Peacock doesn’t know when to
lay back – the lovely “Gesture Without Plot” and gospel-flavored cover of Elvis
Presley’s “Love Me Tender” eschew electronic blurts for more direct


Forty years on, I’m
the One
shouldn’t sound so unusual – the collision of singer/songwriter pop
and electronic tomfoolery has become fairly common in the current millennium.
But Peacock’s avant jazz background and the spirit of doing something new
suffuses I’m the One with enough joie de vivre to keep it sounding fresh
even now.



Way,” “I’m the One,” “Gesture Without Plot” MICHAEL TOLAND


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