POP CD OF THE WEEK
During the eighties, Green On Red flew the American renegade-rocker flag with shamboloic aplomb. Everybody assumed singer/ songwriter Dan Stuart was the presiding genius, though the band increasingly became a Dan Stuart/Chuck Prophet double act as the combo rattled toward it end. It wouldn't do to underestimate Stuart's gifts. But Prophet proved to be a late developer who may just be reaching his peak. He has spent the nineties loaboriously nailing together a fresh persona as a guitar for hire and a solo performer capable of wringing surprises from some well-used musical traditions.
Homemade Blood is his fourth solo effort, and if it doesn't exactly represent a comprehensive overturning of 25 years of rock, soul and country history, at least it slams the whole lot back together with a happy mix of urgent songwriting and rude, noisy playing from Prophet's estimable band. As long ago as the 1993 album Balinese Dancer, reckless hacks were contriving comparisons with Gram Parsons and Richard Thompson. If you listen closely - or at all - Prophet doesn't sound like either of them. You'd get better odds for allusions to Bobby Fuller and the Stooges. The opening track, "Credit," plausibly establishes Prophet as the vocalist that Tom Petty might once have been if Jimmy Lovine hadn't drowned his records in 50 fathoms of audio varnish. Chuck's wheedling moan is perfect for lyrics ike "just last week a little card came in the mail, it was gold and thin as Kate Moss" (followed by sarcastic guitar wolf -whistle). Prophet raunches out again on the likes of "Til You Came Along," with its speedy rhythm guitar scrub and hectic crescendos, or the blown-gasket blast of "22 Fillmore," but he gets more interesting when he slackens off the throttle, in "KMart Family Portrait," Prophet backdropsd his vocals against wraith-like percussion and thin, shivery guitar. "You Been Gone" is an affecting look at missing persons and changed places, while Prophet concludes with the ghostly moan of "The Parting Song." Fine stuff indeed.