RE-REVIEW: CHUCK PROPHET, LET FREEDOM RING
Originally published at thepeoplesmusic.us
A lot of great albums come out, you get them, and you listen to them for a couple of months, and then they give way to the next great album, and you don’t listen to them again until you accidentally hit shuffle on your ipod or pack your stuff up and move and find the hard copy under a pile of dirty clothes and beer cans. However, Chuck Prophet’s Let Freedom Ring has stayed in heavy rotation from the small pile of cds in broken jewel cases that litter the passenger seat in my car ever since it came out last fall.
It’s just straight ahead, classic American analogue rock ‘n’ roll. It’s the kind of music you listen to and say “oh damn, I wish I had this on vinyl.” Of course, there’s a reason for that: they recorded the album in a studio that Chuck describes as “state of the art… for 1957.”
Somewhere between ironically and fittingly, Chuck and his band laid down these politically charged tracks reflecting on the current state of life in America in Mexico City. Not only that, it was at the height of the swine flu outbreak and what seemed to be earthquake season. It looked, felt, and probably smelled like the apocalypse was upon them. The power was constantly going out, the building was shaking, and the cops kept asking for more money to not beat the shit out of the band.
Somehow while documenting a stressed and strained reality in America, they found an even more frenetic environment that seems to have heightened the driving emotions of these songs. Combine that with all the classic analogue studio equipment and you get that original, early days of rock ‘n’ roll sound and charge: they’re songs that were craftily recorded, for a purpose and with a feeling of crude purity.
If you’ve already got this one, pull it out for a fresh listen. If you don’t have it, go get it. Someday when your kids or grandkids or are studying this time period in school, you can tell them everything in their history books is bullshit, and this album explains it better.