The West Coast Diaries series began in 1988 when Charlie Peacock compiled a collection of previously unreleased songs from his days with Exit Records as a way of fulfilling a promise of new material to fans at the Cornerstone Music Festival. Peacock says that he and guitarist Jimmy Abegg (a.k.a. Jimmy A.) "loaded up our families in a thirteen passenger van and headed east for six weeks of touring...We packed that plastic bubble to the roof with everything from diapers to fishing rods. We traveled with four adults, five children and six hundred and fifty of the very first West Coast Diary tapes." This second volume was an attempt to recreate that 1988 summer tour, featuring stripped down renditions of eight songs performed by "the Charlie Peacock Acoustic Trio," which consists of Peacock on lead vocals and piano, Abegg on acoustic guitar and Vince Ebo singing background vocals. The result is not only the best of the West Coast Diaries but probably the best Charlie Peacock album ever. The Trio's versions of "Big Man's Hat" and "The Way of Love" are funkier, fresher and more honest than the fully produced recordings of those songs on the 1990 album The Secret of Time. The same is true of this "Down in the Lowlands," as compared to the versions on the 1986 record Charlie Peacock or Russ Taff's self-titled 1987 effort. Ebo's powerful, soulful vocals and Abegg's crisp, snappy guitars breathe new life into Peacock's songs, as does Roger Smith's rumbling piano on the beautiful new song "Don't Have the Power." Highly recommended not only for Peacock diehards, but for those fans who never quite got into his studio albums.
AllMusic Review by Evan Cater