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The river's rising, stores disappear and dreams don't extend beyond Saturday night.

AP Wire Service

Best of 2009 Overlooked CD's

" Let Freedom Ring!"

Chuck Prophet (Yep Roc)

Chuck Prophet chose a studio in Mexico City to record his ninth studio album, and even from a distance, the situation on the home front looked grim.

" Let Freedom Ring!" portrays a land of orange alerts and car alarms with blood on the sheets and asbestos in the Kool-Aid. The river's rising, stores disappear and dreams don't extend beyond Saturday night. "Who's going to miss you when you're gone?" Prophet asks.

Depressing stuff. As an antidote, Prophet offers stabs of guitars to propel a defiant Stones-style strut, and gradually the mood improves.

Past the halfway mark, Prophet turns his attention to a nightclub dialogue and pairs it with a dance beat on "Hot Talk." Two songs later, the backing vocalists are singing "Shoo-be-doo-wah" on "Good Time Crowd." The final song is "Leave the Window Open," which finds Prophet engaged in pillow talk, with no mention of car alarms.

-Steven Wine, AP

by Steven Wine on January 6, 2010 COMMENTS • Filed under CD Reviews (¡Let Freedom Ring!)