Title - 'Big, Bad & Beautiful - Live'
Artist - Popa Chubby
Theodore Joseph "Ted" Horowitz aka Popa Chubby (a play on the slang idiom "pop a chubby", meaning to ... well, you get the idea!), is an American electric blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
With a discography that spans now 25 albums, from 1994 to 2016, Popa Chubby is legendary on the blues scene; and rightly so. Indeed, Popa Chubby has a lot of reasons to feel big, bad and beautiful this year - not to mention lucky back in 2014! Two years ago marked the 25th anniversary of his emergence as a powerful force in the venerable New York blues scene with his very own band, and his own unique brand of blues rock and funky soul.
With a current line-up of himself and both Erik Boyd on bass and Sim Cain on drums, Pop Cubby now brings us a glorious double album of live music recorded last year in France. The first track out of the live gates is 'Working Class Blues,' a song that personifies the blue collar worker perfectly, before he next brings some stunning slap guitar work on 'Stoop Down Baby,' the swing blues of 'One Leg at a Time,' and both the Hammond-assisted '69 Dollars' and the low slung 'Same Old Blues.'
The passionate 'Angel on My Shoulder' is yet another highlight of this jam-packed collection of top class Popa and that is followed by both the frenetic guitar work of 'I Don't Want Nobody' and the rock rap of 'Life Is a Beatdown.' As you can tell everything about this double live CD is perfect, just perfect. So far, this American electric blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist hasn't put a musical step wrong and that is encapsulated here on Big, Bad & Beautiful - Live.
Next up is the rockabilly R&B of 'Palace of the King' which in turn is backed by the 60's hipsway storytelling of 'Sweat,' the Gospel-inspired 'Signed with Heartache,' and then the stand out rocker 'Rock Me Baby.' The first disc is then rounded out by a five minute 'Blues Bearin' Down' and then a rousing 'Chubbfatha Medley: Speak Softly, Love / Miserlou.'
Phew, and that was all just the first disc! The second one is just as good, if not better and opens with the steady pacing of 'Rock on Bluesman' which is backed by 'Take Me Back to Amsterdam,' the old school funky piano vibe of 'I Was Lookin' Back,' and then the deeply emotive, husky toned storytelling of 'Love In Vain.' Then comes a brilliant-timed Rolling Stones double cover moment of both 'Brown Sugar' and a heartbreaking 'Wild Horses,' before the mid-tempo rocker 'Another Ten Years Gone.'
The uptempo, highly addictive zoot suit feel of 'Caffeine and Nicotine' is a whole lot of fun to listen to and that is backed by the near six minute long guitar jam 'Daddy Played the Guitar' and the zip-paced 'Finger Bangin' Boogie.' This truly incredible, exhausting just to listen to double album is then rounded out with a phenomenal trio: The guitar plucking, gentle sway of 'The People's Blues,' the showmanship of 'Noise Making Love Machine,' and then finally comes a quite extraordinary, and nearly 10 minute long 'Over the Rainbow' - that has to be heard to be believed!