Thursday, June 16, 2011

98 – West Coast Diaries volume II- Charlie Peacock

The Christian music scene has gone through several stages of development over the years. In the late 60’s-early 70’s you had what was called “Jesus Music”. Young people were coming out of the 60’s and taking different paths. One of those paths was a religious revival known as the Jesus Movement. Instead of getting a haircut and wearing a tie like a good God-fearing Christian stereotype, they chose to come as they were, and bring their friends just as they were. Another thing they brought with them was their music. Music was the language of the revolution. What better way to testify to the power of Christ than the language people spoke?

In the mid to late 70’s the simplicity of Jesus Music became the business of Contemporary Christian Music. It slowly began to make its way into Christian bookstores. Labels were formed for distribution, and magazines were formed for publicity. And eventually, as is the case with most “revolutionary” movements, the rebels became the establishment. And when the establishment pushes hard….

… the next generation pushes back. The third stage of Christian Music took place in the mid-80’s and consisted not only of a shift towards punk and new wave music, but also a shift in attitude. T-Bone Burnett once stated that you could sing about the light, or you could sing about what you saw because of the light. And a new generation wanted to shed the “churchy” reputation and make the music they enjoyed listening to, the music that was popular at that time and not five years previous. This has never been anything new, whether you are talking about music, politics, or other issues of life. The establishment wants to hold onto the power and the revolution wants to take the power, not realizing or just not caring to realize that the attitudes they condemn are the attitudes they will be holding ten years later. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Charlie Peacock was part of that mid-80’s paradigm shift in Christian music. He comes from a jazz background and brings that to the pop music stew. His first albums were released on A&M; a third album was released on Island but was lost in the post-Joshua Tree shuffle. Going independent, he released a series of three cassettes known as the West Coast Diaries. Volumes 1 and 3 contained pop/jazz/new wave music, and volume II was recorded by the Charlie Peacock Acoustic Trio (Charlie, Jimmy Abegg and the late Vince Ebo).

I’m a huge fan of acoustic music, and this won’t be the last acoustic album in the top 100. The words of Psalm 51, with the psalmist crying out for mercy and forgiveness for his sins, works marvelously in an acoustic context. This album works best for me late at night, when the body gets sleepy and the thoughts get mellow. I would love to see some of these songs make their way into worship services. Music directors, make it happen.

Charlie has moved from the revolution to the establishment, becoming a highly successful producer in Nashville. I can’t say that I’ve liked everything that he’s recorded since, but I appreciate the mix of styles to form a unique blend.

Vince Ebo, you are missed.


Post a Comment

<< Home