At the tender age of 17, Chuck Prophet (yes, that's his real last name) began his career as a guitar-slinger for '80s roots-rockers Green on Red. The kid was a total miscreant; he had seen the inside of enough loony bins and rehab centers to make Bukowski proud. But he could play guitar — really play guitar.
Prophet, now 43, has been a solo artist for 15 years and clean 'n' sober for 10. Much like Dylan and Neil Young, his discography is spotty. Prophet has scored two minor hits ("Summertime Thing" and "No Other Love"), but he's also lost his way in several fleeting trends.
That said, Soap and Water, Prophet's new disc, features the singer and axeman doing what he does best: heart-on-your-sleeve, blood-in-your-mouth rock and roll redemption. On, for example, "Would You Love Me?," Prophet doesn't aspire; he soars. "Sittin' in a movie, staring at a screen," he sings. "They're dragging Jesus from the town. It don't look good to me/If I had a bucket, or better yet, a spoon/I'd go down to that river, baby. I'd bring that river home to you."
In "Let's Do Something Wrong," Prophet turns Alex-Chilton-strange when he employs an all-boy Methodist choir to sing the refrain, "Let's do something wrong, let's do something stupid."
Prophet is renowned for his live performances, but tonight's show at the Beachland is guaranteed to deliver more: the best songs of Prophet's 25-year career.