Popa Chubby review…January 2, 2017…

POPA CHUBBY

THE CATFISH

POPA CHUBBY PRODUCTIONS

GOING DOWNTOWN TO SEE MY OLD GAL SUE–GOOD THING–BYE BYE LOVE–CRY TILL IT’S A DULL ACHE–WES IS MORE–MOTORHEAD SAVED MY LIFE–BLUES FOR CHARLIE–DIRTY DIESEL–SLOW DOWN SUGAR–PUT A GROWN MAN TO SHAME–THE CATFISH–C’MON IN MY KITCHEN

We’ve been fans of Popa Chubby, born Ted Horowitz in The Bronx, NY, since his Blind Pig recording days back ’round the turn of the century.  A monster guitarist who’s been playing since his teens, he’s back with twelve cuts that show why he’s still one of the baddest blues-rockers on the scene today.  The album is called “The Catfish,” and Popa’s on guitars, bass, percussion and vocals, with Dave Keyes on the keys, Dave Moore and Rich Monica on drums, Matt Lapham on bass, and Tipitina Horowitz  on trumpet on two cuts.

The set starts with an old-school funk party, as Popa’s “Going Downtown To See My Old Gal Sue,” who “knows just what to do!”  The call-and-response with the band adds to the party vibe here.  More screamin’ guitar drives the tale of a broken  five-year love affair that “hits like an earthquake,” and you just “Cry Till It’s A Dull Ache.”

Popa breaks out three really cool and varied instrumentals here, too.  First up is a “reggae-mon” version of the Everly’s “Bye Bye Love.”  “Blues For Charlie” is a six-minute, minor-key, slow-blues jam that finds Popa pulling out all the stops, while “Wes Is More” is a pure, jazzy break with brush-stroked drums, and Dave’s acoustic piano given ample room to stretch out.

“The Catfish” lets everybody know who the “mack daddy” of the river is, and Popa’s chooglin’ tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister and “live fast ’til you die” is “Motorhead Saved My Life!”

We had two favorites, too.  The story of a strong woman who definitely don’t take no mess is the “lady who put a Grown Man To Shame!”  And, the set closes on a straight-blues note, as Popa busts out his acoustic guitar for a Delta-fused, testifyin’ version of Robert Johnson’s “C’mon In My Kitchen.”

On  “The Catfish,” Popa Chubby tells us that his fans are the reason he plays, and finds inspiration from them.  He’s back, and, like all the rest of us, a little older, and definitely wiser, louder, and stronger!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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