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Temple Beautiful

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Audio CD, February 7, 2012
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Play That Song Again 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Castro Halloween 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Temple Beautiful 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Museum Of Broken Hearts 3:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Willie Mays Is Up At Bat 4:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Left Hand And The Right Hand 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I Felt Like Jesus 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Who Shot John 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. He Came From So Far Away (Red Man Speaks) 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Little Girl, Little Boy 2:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. White Night, Big City 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Emperor Norton In The Last Year Of His Life (1880) 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 

Amazon's Chuck Prophet Store


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Chuck Prophet's Temple Beautiful


For most of his life, San Francisco has been Chuck Prophet’s muse...or more accurately, his drug of choice. “It can suck you under. That first hit. It really does a whammy to you. And if you're like me you can find yourself chasing the San Francisco dragon for the rest of your life. That's what the record is about.”

Named for the ill-fated rock club of the same ... Read more in Amazon's Chuck Prophet Store

Visit Amazon's Chuck Prophet Store
for 16 albums, 6 photos, videos, and 1 full streaming song.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,177 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This my ''New York''. I would never put myself next to Lou Reed, but in some ways that's what it is. The record's an unsentimental (though loving) tour of San Francisco. My effort to tap into the history, the weirdness, the energy and spontaneity that brought me here in the first place. All the songs are SF related somehow. Chuck Prophet


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. --All Music Guide

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
If you're already a Chuck Prophet fan and you don't own this yet, get it now!
Bill Melater
Sometimes we should leave politics to the political animals and music to those who have it coming out of their pores, like Mr. Prophet.
A.J. Bateman
He is a mature american recording artist; his music contains a rare combination of a singular vision and timeless narratives.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James N. Perlman on February 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the early 80's, the west coast began to rock once more. The Blasters, Los Lobos, X, and even the cow punk of Rank And File and Lone Justice. Also part of this resurgent movement on the west coast was a lesser known band, Green On Red. Their Gas, Food, Lodging, remains essential and its release coincided with the introduction of Chuck Prophet into the band. After leaving Green On Red, Prophet started releasing solo albums to much critical praise and, of course, little wide-spread acceptance by the general public.

Given the nature of the music business these days, general acceptance is probably not in the cards. Still, this album has the feel, after several listenings, to be as strong, and real, as Gas, Food, Lodging. While it is billed as a "song cycle" about Prophet's native San Francisco, the real story, at least for me, is the music, which represents the ethic of the east coast more than the west coast. The obvious influence is Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground days. But you can hear the New York Dolls here too, as well as Phil Spector (who was NYC even though he recorded on the west coast) and there's a terrific tip of the hat to Buddy Holly too. And, like Holly, Reed, The Dolls and Spector, Prophet largely adheres to the classic Brill Building song structure and classic pop album length at 42:38 minutes.

So, if you are a Chuck Prophet fan, purchase without fear of disappointment. If you aren't yet a Chuck Prophet fan and you are looking to expand your musical horizons, you will no doubt profit from giving this disc a spin, most likely, over and over again.

Note: See comment No. 3 for information from Chuck Prophet on the background for the songs.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By stevie-music on March 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
"It takes years of practice to sound this spontaneous..."

Not sure if I read that somewhere or if it's an original, but it perfectly sums up the peak Chuck Prophet has reached at this point in his career. Temple Beautiful is a concept album of sorts - a tribute to Chuck's adopted home city of San Francisco - but no concept album I have heard wears the mantle more lightly than this one.

Above anything else, it's a great collection of songs, peerlessly played, from the pounding opener to the beautifully reflective closing song, `Emperor Norton in the Last Year of his Life (1880)'. Along the way, we get some great rockers like `Castro Halloween' (Chuck continuing the trend from his last studio album, letting loose on guitar and capturing some of the energy of his live show), the title track, with guest vocal contributions from Roy Loney of the Flamin' Groovies, which ends up sounding like Aladdin Sane is having his skinny ass kicked around the bandstand, and `White Night, Big City'. The latter is a moving tribute to gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, victims of a senseless shooting in 1978. The deadpan vocal, and eerie call and response at the climax, only make the song more devastating. Best of all (for this fan) is `Who Shot John', Chuck and lyricist klipschutz's hybrid take on Hey Joe/Down by the River, one of Chuck's coolest vocal tracks ever laid down embedded in spiky, paranoid guitars.

Great tunes, endlessly quotable lyrics and outstanding musicianship (listen out for James DePrato's slide lines all over the place and Stephanie Finch's angelic tones on `Red Man Speaks'). A confident vote for album of the year, and it's only March...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ramin D. on May 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Temple Beautiful" is already among my and probably many people's leading contenders for 2012 album of the year, and Chuck Prophet has done this fairly regularly in his quarter-century long career, not to even mention what a great guitarist and entertaining live performer he is. Here's the irony: Hardly anyone has heard of Chuck Prophet! In fact, when I get the golden opportunity to see him tonight at the Iota in Arlington, VA (just 5 minutes outside Washington, DC), there'll once again be a crowd of only 50-75. Yet, somehow, I wonder if the irony strikes Chuck as bitter at all. He seems so at ease with himself and (dare I suggest) generally happy, and this radiates through in his consistently wonderful music, and very much so on "Temple Beautiful."
Without a single filler, this straight-on rock and roll album moves Prophet away from his recent eclectic phase (not that there weren't top-notch albums tucked in there too). Mr. Prophet is a seasoned artist by now, and he proves this by taking the best elements of all periods of his music and weaving them into a rich and warm-sounding rock record. The synthesizers of recent albums are largely gone, as is the definite presence of Stephenie Finch (two potentially interwoven factors), although it is glorious to hear them duet on the lovely dance number "Little Girl, Little Boy." Other top-notch tunes include "Castro Halloween," the title track, and "I Felt Like Jesus," expertly sequenced throughout the record to keep the thrill ride going. Absolutely magnificent and a must-have for any rock fan!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. H. on February 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you aren't familiar with Chuck Prophet, you're missing out. He's been writing great stuff for years, some recorded with his band and some performed by others (often with his help), like Alejandro Escovedo or Kelly Willis.

Temple Beautiful is one of his strongest efforts yet. And that's saying something. These songs collectively are a love letter to San Francisco, his adopted hometown. He picks out some of the city's colorful characters, quirks, and historical wrinkles, sprinkles in some of his experiences, and captures something of its soul on this album. Great stuff.

The production here is straightforward, a bit more raw and edgy than his recordings from the early to mid 2000s. He's dropped some of the synths and electronic gadgetry that colored his music back then, too. He's rocking, rowdy. Back to basics. Guitars are front and center. He brought his Telecaster out to play, and James DePrato contributes excellent complementary guitar work, too. I'm hearing some echoes of Big Star in this one. It's the real deal. The industry would be much more interesting if there were more artists like Chuck generating fun, energetic, worthwhile rock like this.

So get out there and check it out. Someday this is all going to be gone. Don't miss it.
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