“Help me!” yelps Chuck Prophet, midway through the opening
song. And while the strutting, stomping, tremolo-strafed “Sonny Liston’s Blues”
is ostensibly about the fallen boxer, its images of a man on the ropes, and
possibly at the end of his rope, too (“What I’m trying to tell you, is how much
I loved you”), are universal.
A sense of unease and uncertainty, leavened by a self-styled
pugilist’s natural defiance, courses through these tunes. In particular, on the
anthemic, glammy “American Man,” the narrator has “blood on my lips/ milk in my
eyes” as he watches The Dream slip away; while on “Leave the Window Open,” a
luminous slice of jangle ‘n’ twang, Prophet tries to hold onto a different sort
of dream as he begs his woman, on both literal and figurative levels, to “leave
the window open… I want to take in this view and live this life before it’s
gone.” Part narrative, part confessional, ¡Let
Freedom Ring! is the sound of an artist at the top of his game.
Standout Tracks: “Leave
the Window Open,” “Hot Talk” FRED MILLS