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Charlie Peacock - West Coast Diaries (1990)


 It’s been a while since I’ve given you something new. My posts have been rather sporadic lately, so in an effort to make up for lost time, I thought I’d give you not one, but a three-in-one today–Charlie Peacock’s three-volume set, West Coast Diaries.

When Charlie made his triumphant return to music in 1990, thanks to the brilliant Secret of Time, he gathered together a collection of recordings he had made between 1986 and 1988 that never saw the light of day. Needless to say, with many such records, one can sometimes see why they never made it to the light of day; but then again, with many such records, there can also be found some gold nuggets.

The first volume has plenty of those gold nuggets with great pop songs such as the Prince-esque, “This is How the Work Gets Done” and “Hiring a Worker,” both songs are seemingly Charlie letting out his thoughts and feelings on the frustrations of the working world. Other nice pop songs are, “Come On, Come On,” and the Huey Lewis -style smooth groove of “Only Love Will Hold Last” with a big horn section (probably done on synth), and would have sounded nice on either a follow-up Charlie Peacock album, or a Bob Carlisle or Bryan Duncan album.

What else is nice about Volume 1 is that it has one of many renditions of “The Way of Love.” If you’ve ever seen Charlie in concert, he hardly ever seems to do this song the same way on each tour. In fact, he does an acoustic version of this song, as well as the confessional, “Big Man’s Hat” on Volume 2, both songs previously released on The Secret of Time.

And Speaking of Volume 2, the second volume is a nice collection of then-newly-recorded material of other pre-released songs (and others not) done acoustically as a trio: Charlie and the late Vince Ebo on vocals with a guitar accompaniment by Jimmy Abegg. Charlie also gives us a beautiful piano solo on the closing, “No Place Closer to Heaven,” a song one could hear the late Rich Mullins perform.

From left, Jimmy Abegg, Vince Ebo and Charlie Peacock

Volume 3 begins with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robison.” Though it might be one of the album’s musical highlights, it was never intended to actually tell the listener how much Jesus loves them (Simon and Garfunkel are both Jewish); and so if one did not know that the song was based on the film, The Graduate, they might shake their head and wonder what all of these lyrics have to do with trying to tell someone that Jesus loves them ‘more than you will know.’

Another Volume 3 treat is “Sun Come Up,” a simple, catchy tune that would have sounded good on a Charlie Peacock “what might have been” 80s new wave album. The album concludes with three somewhat quirky experimental personal touches, “Finishing Mood,” “Yellow is a Happy Color” and the almost-instrumental and somewhat erratic, “Songs I Like to Write that Nobody Ever Gets a Chance to Hear.”

And speaking of instrumentals, Charlie has made quite a splash for himself recendently with quite a few jazz releases, which can be found on Spotify.

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