The first thing that may strike listeners about Prophet’s 2020 album, Don’t Forget It, is how fresh, even young it sounds. There’s a sweet yearning to his voice that mixes with the electronic bite, shimmering guitar and crisp, funky punch. The sound suggests a new figure on the scene finding a path among a generation that happily mixes styles from further back.
But Don't Forget It, released at the end of January on the influential Stones Throw Records, isn't the work of an industry newcomer, but of a veteran musician whose work was nearly forgotten for decades.
“I just try to stay young at heart basically,” Prophet says with easy confidence in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I just stay in tune with music events that are going on with the youth, but doing it in my own way. They are the ones that are really supporting music in a large way right now.”
Prophet originally came to San Francisco in the mid 1970s from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following up on an extensive classical music education at home with a growing love for bass guitar. His first gigs were with a military band and then a tour with a Top 40 cover group. His 1984 album Right On Time, a home demo pressed into a short run on his own Treasure Records, didn’t get the major label attention he'd hoped for, leaving Prophet to continue work in a variety of Bay Area bands for the next decade and a half while the vinyl run disappeared into consignment at various record stores.