Chuck Prophet The Hurting Business

Along with Alejandro Escovedo (formerly of Rank and File) and Dave Alvin (of the Blasters), Chuck Prophet is an old standard-bearer of the early ’80s wave of post-punk, country-influenced bands who have gone on to become an elder statesman of Americana music, late ’90s style. With Green On Red, Prophet made some of the hardest, most eccentric psychedelia ‘n’ western to emerge from the vaunted Paisley Underground that also produced the likes of the Long Ryders and the Rain Parade. Green On Red was also as undisciplined as they come, open to any influence that crossed their path and on the evidence of The Hurting Business, that part of Prophet’s personality hasn’t changed. While some tracks have the bittersweet grit of Paul Westerberg’s songwriting and others chime alongside the winsomely ringing, slightly sepia-toned country-rock of his collaborations with Kelly Willis, he also takes the novel step of opening songs with scratches and hip-hop beats that even more strangely don’t sound all that out of place. Still, for all his genre-blurring, Prophet sounds most in his element with acrid, straight-ahead songs that could have been dusted off out of the Green On Red vaults, and those are sounds we haven’t heard enough of for a long time. (True North)