Caroline Peyton - Intuition
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Caroline Peyton
Intuition
(Fallout)

Like many of the other releases on the Fallout Records label, I had absolutely no idea who Caroline Peyton was prior to hearing this release. As it turns out, she not only released several albums under her own name, but also as the singer of the band The Screaming Gypsy Bandits (who were a bit of a cult band themselves). As it turns out, Intuition was the second solo release by Peyton, and it's a remarkable portrait of 70s female singer/songwriter music that blends together country, funk, pop, blues, and even a touch of disco into something that's outstanding at times while lapsing into semi-schmaltzy ground in other places.

In addition to being championed by famous DJs like Gilles Peterson, one of Peyton's tracks found its way onto the recent Numero Group compilation Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies From The Canyon, so it's not a complete surprise that her album has been featured with such a fancy re-release (fancy packaging and remastering). As mentioned above, the release flirts with a lot of different styles, and that's one of the main reasons it stands above comparable releases from the era. After opening with the country-licked pop track "Still With You" (complete with a couple noticeable twangs of her southern accent and some nice Rhodes piano), "Together" follows and lets loose with a load of gospel influence, with some of best vocals from Peyton on the release as piano and organs provide the major melodic backbone along with some nice guitar.

From there, she rolls through an ever-widening batch of influences as "Party Line" mixes some oddly political lyrics with a slick disco-funk backing while "Donkey Blues" (you guessed it) drops horns, harmonica, and some rollicking piano into a sort of honky-tonk blues number. That's not the end of it, though, and before she's done, she's touched on more straight-up folk ("All This Waiting"), flat-out rock ballad ("Brister") and almost adult contemo lite pop ("Light Years"). One of the more stunning songs on the entire release, though, is the shimmering ambient folk of "Call Of The Wild," where layers of analogue synths swirl around with flutes and multiple acoustic guitar melodies while Peyton adds some beautiful vocal harmonies. It's one of truly left-field diversions on the little album that stands up against anything released in the same time period.

Unlike many of her contemporaries (or at least artists that shared space with her on the recent Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies From The Canyon compilation), Peyton actually went on to have some music-related success after her early days, singing on Broadway and performing vocals for Disney films like Beauty And The Beast and Pocahontas. With its lively, sometimes anything-goes feel, It's not completely surprising that Intuition didn't leave a wider mark when it was originally released, but if you're a fan of late 70s female singer/songwriter stuff, it's a little gem you might want to seek out.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2007-08-02 20:34:59