Chuck Prophet Takes Portland to 'Bangkok'
Chuck Prophet was already serving up a smoking take on Alex Chilton`s grimy, hiccuped 1978 single `Bangkok' on the road last winter. Now he plays the Memphis legend's "painless lesson in geography" (as Prophet called it Friday night at Portland's Mississippi Studios) in memoriam, five months after Chilton's death.
"I'm still kind of numb about it," Prophet told Spinner. "The thing about Alex is he always did take pretty good care of himself. He was one of the first people I knew that was kind of like health-conscious. It's not the way it's supposed to turn out."
Prophet showed off his triple-threat ability—excellent songwriter, killer lead guitarist, charismatic frontman—in Portland, Ore., with a set that included the 20-year-old songs `Queen Bee' and `Balinese Dancer,' as well as crowd-favorites `Summertime Thing' and `I Bow Down and Pray to Every Woman I See,' both from 2002's `No Other Love.'
There was also a solo acoustic version of the title track from Prophet's current album, `Let Freedom Ring,' and a sweetly soaring version of Alejandro Escovedo`s `Wasn't I Always a Friend to You,' which, like many of the songs on Escovedo's last two records, Prophet co-wrote. It's also one of the tunes Bruce Springsteen played with Escovedo at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park last month.
"God bless the kid," Prophet joked. "He's my meal ticket."
Prophet also unveiled `Hot Talk,' a "dialogue song" about phone sex.
"If you are bootlegging this show tonight, I would only hope you show us the courtesy we deserve by including this next song," he told the crowd. "We've been locked out of radio."