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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 10, 2017 | Yep Roc Records

Is Chuck Prophet a storyteller who just happens to be a great musician? Or is he a talented songwriter and guitarist who also has a real gift for spinning tales? On 2017's Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, his 12th studio album, Prophet has managed to strike an ideal balance between the two sides, delivering a tuneful and engaging set that's full of character sketches with a full complement of heart, soul, honesty, wit, and the details of a recognizable adult life. Prophet is capable of playfully imagining what it would be like to be the star of Nashville and Friday Night Lights ("If I Was Connie Britton"), then sharing the true story of a young man gunned down by the San Francisco police for no clear reason just a few tracks later ("Alex Nieto"). Both songs come off as smart, honest, and thoughtful despite their very different tone, and those adjectives apply to nearly every cut on this album. The current state of music is a recurring theme here, as evidenced by the title tune, "Bad Year for Rock and Roll," "We Got Up and Played," and "In the Mausoleum" (the latter an homage to the late Alan Vega of Suicide). But Prophet is just as interested in the lives of people in all sorts of trouble. A single mother and a gunman unexpectedly cross paths in "Killing Machine," the author ponders the objects of his affection in "Your Skin" and "Coming Out in Code," the peaks and valleys of romantic relationships are examined in "Open Up Your Heart," and the Son of God's consumer preferences get a rundown in "Jesus Was a Social Drinker." Prophet and his studio band (including Tubes drummer Prairie Prince and co-producers Brad Jones and Matt Winegar on various instruments) give the melodies a rich, wide-ranging sound, and Prophet has rarely been better as a vocalist, finding the right tone on every track. Along with having one of the best titles of recent memory, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins confirms that more than 25 years after making his solo debut, Chuck Prophet remains one of America's strongest songwriters and recording artists, and he's in great form here. © Mark Deming /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released July 9, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 21, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1990 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2014 | Yep Roc Records

After his ambitious 2012 album Temple Beautiful, a song cycle about his home town of San Francisco, Chuck Prophet eases back just a bit with Night Surfer, a set of tunes that often have an autobiographical twist as Prophet (or a character speaking with his voice) interacts with a rogue's gallery of characters both honorable and dangerous. Whether he's hitting the highway on tour in a beat-up van, harvesting weed in Mexico, or jotting down mental notes about strangers in the park, Prophet has a great eye for details, and these 12 songs are often powerfully evocative and acidly funny, short stories of a memorable life where fate often puts a twist in the tale. As good a songwriter as Prophet is, he's also a fine man with a tune who can write melodies that are tough but richly musical at the same time, and his skills as a guitarist are strong, though he has a small army of helpers on these sessions, including Peter Buck on 12-string guitar, Prairie Prince of the Tubes, and Bill Rieflin, ex-Ministry, taking turns on drums (and any musician who cheerfully works with members of R.E.M., the Tubes, and Ministry on one album is one who isn't too worried about boundaries). Night Surfer jumps from atmospheric pop to full-on rock with grace, precision, and just the right touch of attitude, and Prophet's wit and storytelling smarts never get in the way of his abundant heart and soul. Chuck Prophet has quietly amassed a very impressive body of solo work in the 21st century, and Night Surfer shows he's not slowing down anytime soon. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 7, 2012 | Yep Roc Records

Theme projects can be dicey propositions. For every successful one that examines a subject in a song cycle, many more fail miserably as performers strain and stretch lyrics to fit the matter at hand. Leave it to San Francisco's Chuck Prophet to turn that generalization upside-down on his twelfth studio release since the 1990 dissolution of Green on Red. This concept set centers on his San Francisco hometown. The 12 tunes on Temple Beautiful, named after an influential and long defunct S.F. punk club, sometimes only obliquely reference the city. In fact, without Prophet's song-by-song explanations in the press notes, it's often impossible to place this rootsy, melodic rock & roll to any particular location. Still, Prophet proudly declares that the album was "made in San Francisco, by San Franciscans about San Francisco." Regardless, this is another in a remarkably consistent series of terrific Prophet discs, filled with tightly wound blues-based rock, driven by his unassuming talk-sung vocals and ever-present, always imaginative Telecaster riffs. The dreamy trip-hop beats that once played a distinctive part in Prophet's sound have been replaced by a tough four-piece augmented by occasional horns, keyboards from producer Brad Jones, violin and cello, and even a guest vocal from San Francisco's Roy Loney, founding member of, and frontman for, the legendary Flamin' Groovies. The rather open-ended theme namechecks everyone from world-renowned S. F. figures such as Willie Mays to the far more obscure Emperor Norton, a British eccentric who moved there and a figure only those from the area would likely recognize. The 1978 Harvey Milk/George Moscone double homicide by Dan White is referenced in "White Night, Big City," but even those lyrics are obtuse with neither of the protagonist's names mentioned, although what sounds like found audio footage from the subsequent White Night Riots is a subtle addition. Some of the material least connected to the S.F. topic is the most successful. The lonely souls that populate "The Museum of Broken Hearts" have only a tangential relationship to AIDs, but the result is one of Prophet's most beautiful, moving, and mournful ballads, helped enormously by a simple, somewhat psychedelic elegiac violin that weaves throughout the chorus. The short '50s pastiche with Stax-styled soul sax and wife Stephanie Finch (oddly M.I.A. on many of these songs), "Little Girl, Little Boy" is a frisky antidote to some of the songwriter's darker, skewed visions. The latter is exemplified by the rocking and murderous "Who Shot John," another seemingly non-S.F. related item. Ultimately, despite his loftier intentions, this works perfectly well as another excellent Chuck Prophet collection that for most listeners only marginally adheres to its stated concept but is no less impressive because of that. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Cooking Vinyl

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Pop - Released October 2, 2007 | Yep Roc Records

Chuck Prophet began his musical career with the genre-defying group Green on Red, and since their demise, the now solo singer/songwriter/producer continues to duck all attempts at categorization. Soap and Water continues to muddy the waters, but in the most sublime of ways. Much of the set revolves around the blues or R&B, from the swampy sounds of "A Woman's Voice" to the jazzy, finger-snapping "Downtime," the porch-picking blues of "Small-Town Girl," and the Rolling Stonesy R&B riff that powers "Freckle Song." But other influences are equally strong, like the twist of the Beatles that's dashed across "Would You Love Me," the surge of new wave that splashes over "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" (a song that's the bastard child of the Cars and Mink DeVille), and the post-punk aura that throws shadows across "Doubter Out of Jesus (All Over You)." Invariably, though, the arrangements smudge up the styles, abetted by keyboardist Aidan Hawken, who often counterpoints the guitars with an entirely different genre, conjuring up lavish atmospheres and haunting auras along the way. It's all subtly done, with the productions creating a dreamy, magical quality to the entire set; there is brilliant work from Prophet and co-producer Brad Jones. The many dappled, introspective atmospheres beautifully showcase Prophet's lyrics and themes. Some of the numbers are exquisitely etched vignettes revolving around relationships; others are more fragmentary. "Naked Ray," for example, plops listeners into the center of a sticky situation, like tuning in at the middle of a soap opera. Some omit the back story; a few sketch in just enough details to whet your appetite for more; and others force fans to pen their own "Happy Ending." A master of the metaphor and inventor of brilliant analogies, Prophet knows how to turn a phrase to his advantage or inside out. With a beautifully understated wit, the songwriter amazes with his words and enchants with his music. A lavishly crafted album that one wants to bathe in forever. © Jo-Ann Greene /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2006 | Fire Records

A homey slice of modern roots-rock, Prophet and his band slide through rockin' originals like "Look Both Ways" (penned with Steve Wynn and Chris Cacavas), the swampy "Say It Ain't So" and the dark folk of "Scarecrow." Aided by Stephanie Finch on vocals and accordion and Chris Isaak band member Roly Salley on bass, these city folk make authentic back-porch blues and folk fused with rock. © Denise Sullivan /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Cooking Vinyl

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Country - Released September 7, 2009 | Belle Sound

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 16, 2013 | Yep Roc Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 15, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released November 15, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released October 2, 2007 | Belle Sound

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 25, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released January 28, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released July 29, 2020 | Yep Roc Records