Better Than Ever| Posted July 01, 2019
I’ve appreciated the multi-talented (singer, songwriter, producer, author) and influential artist Charlie Peacock (“Big Man’s Hat”, “Down in the Lowlands”, “In the Light”), for more than 30 years, starting with his West Coast Diaries albums and his appearances at the Cornerstone Festival when it was still being held in the Chicago area. I’ve seen him in a concert a number of times over the years, from church concerts with his excellent trio (Peacock, Vince Ebo and Jimmy Abegg), to a small coffee house, and also heard him speak on a book tour. It’s always a joy when he releases a new vocal album. Lil’ Willie is his first new vocal album since 2012’s No Man’s Land.
The album features Peacock’s father, known as Lil’ Willie when he was growing up, on the cover. Peacock wrote all of the songs, produced the album and played most of the instruments, with son Sam Ashworth played acoustic guitar. The album was mixed and mastered by Peacock’s longtime friend and engineer Richie Biggs.
Here’s a few comments from each song from Lil’ Willie: Fine Way to Live Your Life – The bouncy opener features some excellent acoustic guitar, bass, light percussion and light backing vocals. All they wanted was a life of bliss. It’s a time to seek not hide. It’s fine way to live, a dream come true. Peacock’s voice here, and on the entire album, sounds just as fresh as it did back on his 1980’s West Coast Diaries albums. Looking at You – This mid-tempo song features acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, keys and light backing vocals. He’s stayed too long at a party and is slightly hung over. A good friend from down the street calls and they go out for coffee, something to eat and to watch people. They have an undeniable connection as they look at each other. They talk about living a life that is beautiful and different from most in America, where there is always something to complain about. Time to Go – This gentle song features acoustic guitar, piano, and light backing vocals. He’s dreaming of a life that he might know. You can take him there, it’s time to go. He’s cast aside the need to always win to find communion with a life-long friend, who is the only light he knows. Right Fine Picture – This song has an infectious driving beat, led by drums, guitar and bass. The song is about someone who does all the right things – she lets her light shine, says the right thing and does no wrong. She glows like sundown, has great cheekbones, and never keeps him out all night. What You Believe You Will Receive – This is a slower song, beginning with an accordion sound, with keys, bass, violin, and backing vocals added. It’s directed to a man whose woman loves him but can’t stand what he does. He might still have time on the clock and a trick up his sleeve. He holds on to nothing, thinking it is something. The One I Won’t Let Go – This song starts with a slow groove and then builds into a nice beat with keys, guitar, drums and backing vocals. She’s the only treasure he ever wants or needs and is the one he won’t let go. Why, Why, Why – This mid-tempo song features a country sounding guitar and light drums. He has a lot of questions. She didn’t need the heartache, even though it might have felt so right. His feelings left long ago, as did all the promises they made. The Songs – This mid-tempo song, begins with synth, and then adds drums, guitar and light backing vocals. He’ll sing the songs make it right, that she embraces and bring him unexpected tears that come from too much heartache. B Who U Is – This song features a good groove, featuring drums, guitar, bass, hand-clap and backing vocals. It’s about being who God created you to be, not what you aren’t. Wouldn’t Leave You Alone – This is a beautiful acoustic song featuring guitar, violin and light backing vocals. He was complicated and she was frustrated. The sound of love had come undone. It was unusual and beautiful what love would make of them. Some give up to soon, too easy. But she had fire in her bones and wouldn’t leave him just to leave him.