Artist: Popa Chubby
Album: The Catfish
Label: Self Released
Release Date: 12/05/2016
For a musician who’s made his reputation as a live performer, Popa Chubby has an extensive discography. There are studio albums with original material and live recordings that mix Chubby compositions with Hendrix, Stones and other familiar covers. The Catfish, the big man’s latest studio effort, released in December, highlights his range from straight-ahead blues to forays into jazz, swing and bits of boogie woogie and funk.
The bluesy cuts on The Catfish are easily identifiable: “Cry Till It’s A Dull Ache,” “Going Downtown See My Old Gal Sue” and “Put a Grown Man to Shame.” There’s even Chubby’s take on the classic “C’mon in My Kitchen,” an acoustic shuffle accompanied by Dave Keyes on piano and vocals. The title track is a gritty ZZ Top riff with vocal snarls and growls reminiscent of “La Grange,” but it’s on the three instrumental pieces where Chubby’s guitar chops shine. The bouncy cover of “Bye Bye Love” is a feel-good tune enhanced with impressive technique while “Wes Is More” pays homage to the great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. “Blues for Charlie” is dedicated to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan massacres in France, where Popa Chubby has been playing and developing a solid fan base the past few years.
The Catfish is available for download through the normal channels, but the physical CD features the type of colorful artwork and liner notes that belong to an earlier era. Like so many live performers who rely on the “merch” table for additional support, Popa Chubby’s CDs are available at his shows, which is still the best way to experience his music.
Read Lou’s review of Popa Chubby’s recent show at the Iridium in New York City HERE.