by Brian Baker
Posted In: Reviews
, Music Video
at 02:54 PM | Permalink
Chuck Prophet has more Rock cred than any one man should have a right to claim. His eight-year run in Green on Red in the ’80s resulted in some of the most influential sounds to emanate from Southern California’s Paisley Underground scene and his subsequent solo catalog has notched an impressive level of critical acclaim over the past 22 years. In that time, the names he’s worked with — as collaborator, producer, hired gun, pal — reads like a who’s who of contemporary musical accomplishment: Warren Zevon, Aimee Mann, Jim Dickinson, Lucinda Williams, Jonathan Richman, Kelly Willis, Jules Shear, Alejandro Escovedo and a good many more lesser but no less important lights.Prophet’s recent work has been some of his most viscerally satisfying, beginning with 2007’s wide-ranging Soap and Water, his 2008 collaboration with Escovedo on his Real Animal album, and Prophet’s 2009 political Rock statement, ¡Let Freedom Ring! For his latest solo jaunt, Temple Beautiful, Prophet maintained a healthy power level while injecting a concept into the proceedings, namely making every song on Temple Beautiful about his longtime San Francisco home. The album springs to life with “Play That Song Again,” a bouncy slice of ’70s Pop/Rock, followed by “Castro Halloween,” an insistent Pop anthem with the ring of the casual greatness of George Harrison’s best solo work and the bluster it would have had if he’d ever installed Tom Petty behind the glass to produce it. The title track, a tribute to the Punk club that occupied the space once held by Jim Jones’ People’s Temple before they decamped to their infamous digs in Guyana, is a blaring blast of Rock and Soul that pounds like The Ramones on a couple of bottles of cough syrup and swings like T. Rex with more garage and less glam, “Willie Mays is Up at Bat” sounds like Warren Zevon channeling Bob Dylan circa “Watching the River Flow,” and “I Felt Like Jesus” swaggers and nods with Surf Rock reverb and Roots Rock twang. Five years ago, Chuck Prophet was trying to decide if he had anything left to say in a musical context, but Temple Beautiful finds him eleven albums deep in his solo career and sounding as energized and inspired as he was when he dropped his debut back in 1990; long may he do this, or any other damn thing his infinitely talented mind can conceive in a studio.
April 2 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Alejandro Escovedo's career has been a successful one, but the acclaim — and public support — for him has come slowly, without any one major hit. If anything, at age 59 his following is still growing as he finds his groove as an Austin-based Roots musician capable of explosively rockin' out one minute and writing a doleful, tuneful string-accompanied romantic ballad the next.
Chuck Prophet heads south for new album
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Before I could even fully ask the question, Chuck Prophet (the Petty-with-an-edge Americana singer/songwriter/guitarist) was laughing. I said the word "Wikipedia," and he instantly knew I was heading to this paragraph in his entry: "Chuck Prophet parted with New West Records in 2005 after a restaurant tab argument involving an extra order of garlic bread."
0 Comments · Friday, October 30, 2009
This posting is considerably later than I would have liked, and if blame is to be assigned then let it be on my hippie kidneys. I'm still waiting for a kidney stone to pass, which means cycles of writing quickly while I can sit upright and writhing on the floor and speaking in tongues. You read, I'll writhe.
0 Comments · Friday, June 12, 2009
They can put a man on the moon, so why can't someone engineer the 30-hour day? Between writing and planning to write and the administration of my writing and downloading and listening and that other devourer of time, family life, the only thing left to cut into is sleep. Here's what I've been listening to this week: new albums from Sonic Youth, Adam Freeland, Slim Twig, Rhett Miller and Trey Anastasio and classic vinyl from Chuck Prophet.