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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Popa Chubby

Big, Bad & Beautiful Live

Review by Gary Hill

Popa Chubby is considered a blues man. For the most part that is true. He does wander into other territory, though. This live album captures some exceptional performances throughout the range of his sounds. It’s all very effective, making this an excellent two-CD set. If you dig guitar blues (and just about every song includes impressive guitar work, whether I specifically mention it or not) with a real rock edge, do yourself a favor and give this a try. You’ll thank me for the recommendation.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One

                 
Working Class Blues

The set is opened with a fiery electric blues meets hard rock song. Of course, the guitar soloing rules this roost, but don’t overlook the killer piano work.

Stoop Down Baby
There is some funk built into this cool tune. I love the organ on the piece. The guitar soloing just plain jams. There are some great shifts and changes, and this is just such a cool cut.
One Leg at a Time
More classy old school blues rock, this is a killer cut, too. It’s bouncy and a lot of fun. It’s more the most traditional sounding thing we’ve heard to this point. In some ways, though, it makes me think of The Allman Brothers, really. The piano solo section is a great touch.
69 Dollars
The organ on this is particularly classy. Listen to the bass groove on this beast, too. This is fiery hot traditional blues that really rocks. Some of the mid-track jam actually makes me think of early Santana in a lot of ways. It works toward psychedelia in the middle of the tune, too.
Same Old Blues
Here is a classy old school blues tune. It is very traditional in tone and delivery. I dig the organ solo. Of course, the guitar solo also delivers, but that’s not a variant from the rest.
Angel on My Shoulder
More of a hard rocking blues tune, this gets some organ soloing, too. It’s energetic and powerful.
I Don't Want Nobody
This has a real BB King kind of vibe to it. It’s a smoking hot traditional blues tune.
Life Is a Beatdown
With a cool mid-track piano solo, this is a bit more of a rock song. Sure, it’s still blues based, but this feels like it would have be at home on classic rock stations.
Palace of the King
The guitar soloing on this even manages to stand taller than a lot of the rest. That says a lot, really. This is another tune with more of a modern edge to it. It reminds me quite a bit of Stevie Ray Vaughn, really.
Sweat
Old school jazz types of sound are built into this cool thing. It’s a classy number and a nice change of pace.
Signed with Heartache
There is some screaming hot slide guitar in the midst of this more traditional blues tune. It’s a real scorcher in so many ways.
Rock Me Baby
This is another that’s more of a rocker than pure blues. It has some great organ soloing and just plain grooves.
Blues Bearin' Down
I love the piano on this cut. The overall groove is infectious. This is classic blues rock with a lot of style.
Chubbfatha Medley
This instrumental has a lot of The Ventures built into it with a lot of more modern hard rock here, too. It’s not really a blues tune at all, but rather a smoking hot guitar based jam with some classic stylings and changes.
Disc Two
                       
Rock on Bluesman

Much more of a blues rocker than and rocking blues tune, this is classy stuff. It has powered up and dropped back sections. It’s more like a power ballad than it is anything else, really. It has some great vintage rock jamming.

Take Me Back to Amsterdam
Here we get a shuffling blues stomper. This is traditional and a lot of fun.
I Was Lookin' Back
The piano on this thing is so cool. This is an old school tune that’s part jazz, part rock and roll and part blues.
Love in Vain
A traditional electric blues sound is the concept here. It’s another strong piece of music.
Brown Sugar
Here they tackle the Rolling Stones. This is a great version, really. It’s pretty faithful, but the vocals are the main difference.
Wild Horses
This Stones cover has a bit of a different sound from the original. Still, the magic of the piece shines through for sure. It’s another piece that has some hints of The Allman Brothers. It also features some great slide guitar.
Another Ten Years Gone
More of a rock based bluesy number, this is a solid one, but not really a standout. I can make out some Allman Brothers on this thing, too.
Caffeine and Nicotine
This is a more authentic and old school take on the kind of thing the Stray Cats have always done. It actually makes me think of “Stray Cat Strut” just a bit.
Daddy Played the Guitar
More of a rock and roller, this is classy stuff. Most of the vocals are spoken. It’s cool stuff.
Finger Bangin' Boogie
Old school blues stomping is on the menu here. It has some great piano and is built on a smoking hot groove.
The People's Blues
This is some killer electric blues for sure. It’s not a huge change, but just really tasty.
Noise Making Love Machine
An energized rocker, this is good stuff. It’s not really a standout, but it works well.
Over the Rainbow
This instrumental take has sections that feel more like something Steve Vai would do. It does get into more blues like territory, too. It’s a killer tune and great closer.
 
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