Nobody harneses the distinctive sound of a Fender Telecaster quite like Chuck Prophet and, as the opening chords of ‘Play That Song Again’ ring out with an undeniable twang, Prophet starts Temple Beautiful with a statement of intent from the off. His most focused and concise work in years, Prophet’s twelfth studio album is ultimately an open love letter to San Francisco – filled with gut wrenching guitar licks (‘Castro Halloween’ / ‘Who Shot John’), classic Dylan-esque phrasing (‘Play That Song Again’) and gorgeous analogue production (‘He Came From So Far Away’) – Temple Beautiful harks back to the raw pomp and swagger of 1997′s Homemade Blood and sheds the daliances with synths and samples that have perhaps crowded the past few releases. A return to form, some would say.
Listen to Temple Beautiful in full below alongside Chuck’s own personal guide to the album.
Temple Beautiful is released via Yep Roc on 6 February.
Temple Beautiful / Track-By-Track guide
This song gave use trouble. Words and music both. Arrangement too. A song about San Francisco itself, and how you can’t help writing songs about it.
We wrote this record using a “google pure” approach. An expression coined by David Berman of the Silver Jews. So we mistakenly report in the first verse that two men died. I’m looking for a fact-checker.
Some people say I sound like Ray Davies here. I’ll take it. Did I dream that Roy Loney sang on this song, or did it really happen?
I see a lot of lonely people in my travels. Sometimes I’m one of them. This is for all of us. Brad Jones, my co-producer put a lot of love into this one.
If you can’t afford a cast thousands, the next best thing is this outfit: Carol Doda, Laffing Sal, Jim Jones, Bill Graham, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck – with Willie Mays batting clean-up!
Two young geniuses in Nashville are doing a video of it. All animation. With actual hands! Stay tuned.
Well, I did, for about a minute back there, one Tuesday night in the 80’s.
All those years of listening to Hey Joe finally paid off. Even my co-writer Kurt, who’s a little slow when it comes to music, can play Hey Joe on guitar.
I own a huge painting of this guy. Actually, I kind of inherited it. He painted himself red and held court every night in The Mission.
Johnny and June, Lee and Nancy, Richard and Linda, Gram and Emmylou, Chuck and Stephanie. Okay, so we snuck into the group photo. Sue me.
A piece of San Francisco history. A tragedy. Somehow the White Night riot after the killer, Dan White, got off too easy was a kind of an explosion. I’m a peaceful guy but here’s proof that it doesn’t hurt to throw a brick from time to time.
A local character from the late 1800s in San Francisco. There’s still hotels and restaurants here named for him. He printed his own money and people accepted it. My kind of guy.