[Yep Roc (2012)]
Temple Beautiful is roots rocker Chuck Prophet’s love letter to his home town, San Francisco. It opens with a crunchy, Lou Reed style rock tune, “Play That Song Again,” which characterizes S as “A city full of animals, a city full of thieves.” “Castro Halloween” moves into wistful Springsteen territory as Prophet reminisces about the huge street parties that used to occur in the city’s Castro District. The punkish title song is an homage to one of the city’s best, long departed music venues. Much like “Desolation Row,” the winsome “Willie is Up at Bat” is a rogue’s gallery of many of the characters that defined the city in the last half of the twentieth centuries, while “White Nights, Big City” chronicles the near-riot that occurred the evening after Dan White, who shot both Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone, was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. Temple Beautiful is a soaring, passionate work that captures the grandeur and mystery of one of the world’s greatest cities.
—Michael Parrish (San Jose, CA)