10 tracks/53 minutes
Theodore Joseph “Ted” Horowitz , aka, Popa Chubby is celebrating 25 years as an artist and has released what might be his finest overall album to date! The song selection of new and covers is great, the two guest appearances add a lot to the mix and Chubby and his band deliver inspired performances. Popa Chubby handles the guitar, vocals and percussion and also plays bass on 4 tracks. Chris Redden is on drums and Dave Keyes is on piano and organs for all cuts. Francesco Beccaro is on bass for the remaining cuts. One of his two daughters (Tipitina) plays trumpet on one track and does a fine job with it!
Popa Chubby opens with a duet with Dana Fuchs. He wrote this and 8 other cuts here. Chubby sings and calls for his woman in “Come to Me.” Fuchs replies in sensational fashion, with loads of emotion and grit displayed on both parts. Very nice organ work here by Keyes, too.
“One Leg at a Time” is a hopping shuffle that Popa does in a slick and cool fashion- very enjoyable and a nice contrast in style! “Three Little Words” follows and this is where his daughter plays some trumpet. Chubby opens with a driving vocal as the organ, trumpet and band back him. He goes into a short solo on guitar and then sings before Keyes provides a cool solo. The lone cover is “Rollin” and Tumblin;” Chubby gets down and does it justice with dirty vocals and stinging guitar as he moans approval over the guitar solo. “Too Much Information” is up next, a pretty ballad that always amazes me when I see him live. He can be a short, dark, mountain of a man with leather and tattoos and yet he can pull off a gentle and beautiful ballad without batting an eye.
“Rock On Bluesman” seems like a trubute to fellow New Yorker and axe god Leslie West. He hits the upper altitudes with his string bending goodness here. A slow tempo-ed tribute to the road weary rocking blues man. The guitar is huge here and Popa puts on a show with some huge and mountainous solos that he shares with Mike Zito who appears on this cut and also co-wrote it with Mr. Horowitz. Rocking blues fans will just eat this up as the two of them let it all hang out!
He follows with the title track where the pedals come into play as he gets a little funky. The organ helps him set the funky tone as he bounces and shucks and jives through this cool little cut as he extolls that he is “Feelin’ Lucky.” In “Save Your Own Life”he opens with some more huge guitar and rocking blues. He changes over to a another rocking style in “I’m A Pitbull (Nothing But Love)” and delivers this love song (you’ll just have to listen to the lyrics and see how Chubby can be the pitbull of love) and delivers another great guitar solo or two. He closes with “The Way It Is” as Popa ponders what life would be like for he and his lover without the other. Nicely done!
There are ten tight and well done cuts here. Not overdone or overstated but he does do things in a big way at times with some massive and poignant guitar solos. The vocals are solid an spot on- this guy can sing! Dave Keyes really impressed me on his piano and organ work throughout, too. His performances were inspired. This is a really good album by one of the New York blues scene’s best- Popa Chubby. If you need to hear him for the first time this is as good a place as any to start. If you are a fan you’ll want to run out or go on line an get yourself a copy to enjoy. I found myself listening to it over and over again!