Since his neo-psychedelic Green On Red days, Chuck Prophet has been turning out country, folk, blues, and Brill Building classicism. THE LAND THAT TIME FORGET is something different, a weather vane picking up signals from outer space – or maybe it’s the Heartland.
Priced out of his beloved hometown, San Francisco, Prophet found himself re-energized in Upstate NY just a few miles from the Vermont border – and made a record that is much a 21st century exorcism as it is America.
The songs inhabit a world where a Fast Kid might be on the run from the truant officer or a handsy boss…or the Immigration Service. These are love songs that turn political on a dime (Love Doesn’t Come from the Barrel of a Gun), and melodic hallucinations about kicking back in the Oval Office after hours “talking to my baby, saying baby, let’s not fight.”
Where else besides a Chuck Prophet LP are songs going to come at you from both the Tenderloin and an English roundabout, with stopovers in Nixonland and a love-struck mirror on a Saturday night while a workingman tries his Best Shirt On? With special appearances by the ghost of Johnny Thunders and Willie Wonka and John the Baptist and the train that brought Abraham Lincoln home one last time.
THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT got off the ground in the Money Belt, only to find its legs in the Borscht Belt. Musically it has deep roots, from the Southern Delta to the discos of Munich. There’s a kind of folkish inevitability to it, lots of acoustic instruments, on top of each other and side by side. But as much as folk music is the soil all music grows from, it never hurts to have a boiler room. So, there’s always a rhythm section shuffling under your feet here.