Murder mystery the inspiration for US rocker’s latest album

US singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet.
US singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet.

Most north east folk won’t have the foggiest notion who Bobby Fuller is, but a chance to find out is on offer at the Sage Gateshead this weekend.

US roots rock singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet is returning to the riverside venue’s hall two on Sunday, July 23, as part of this year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival there.

The 54-year-old, born in Whittier in California but now living in San Francisco, is taking in the festival as part of a short British tour to promote his 13th solo album, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, released in February.

Like its dozen predecessors, from 1990’s Brother Aldo through to 2014’s Night Surfer, the 13-track LP failed to chart, but it’s difficult to understand why as, also like most of those that went before it, it’s a decent piece of work and garnered generous quantities of critical acclaim.

Describing it as California noir, Prophet said: “The state has always represented the golden dream, and it’s the tension between romance and reality that lurks underneath the surface in all noir films and paperbacks, and that connects these songs.

“Doomed love, inconsolable loneliness, rags to riches to rags again and fast-paced violence are always on the menu on the Left Coast.”

Prophet isn’t a complete stranger to the charts this side of the Atlantic, however, as No Free Lunch, his third EP with his old band Green on Red, together from 1979 to 1992 and 2005 to 2006, hit the dizzy heights of No 99 back in 1985.

His new album’s title is inspired by the mystery still surrounding the death of Texam musician Bobby Fuller in 1966 at the age of 23.

Fuller was also a one-hit wonder over here, having got to No 33 in the singles chart with the Bobby Fuller Four’s cover version of the Sonny Curtis song I Fought the Law earlier that year.

Tickets to see Prophet’s first show at the Sage since 2014, also as part of the Americana festival, cost £21.50. Curse of Lono will be supporting. For details, go to www.sagegateshead.com