RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Popa Cubby – Universal Breakdown Blues
Provogue Records

Rating: B

Born Ted Horowitz, Popa Chubby is his larger than life, blues playing, rock and rolling alter ego.  His look, attitude and sound all scream Big Apple affirming his lifelong love affair of New York City.  On May 28th, Popa will release Universal Breakdown Blues, an album of killer guitar playing, blues soaked licks, scowling lyrics and tons of Chub!

Popa Chubby pulls no punches, musically or lyrically, giving his music an edge. “Since I’d grown up on Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin, when I started playing blues in New York clubs I understood that the blues should be dangerous, too,” admits the big man. “It wasn’t just from playing in punk bands, as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters were dangerous men. They’d cut or shoot you out of necessity if they had to, and Little Walter packed a gun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it. That danger is a real part of the Blues and I keep it alive in my music.

 “People look at me and expect a certain thing, and don’t realize there’s more behind the picture. They see a big, burly guy with tattoos, and they expect to get beat over the head. And you will get beat over the head, but you’ll also get rocked to sleep, and there’ll be poetry in there too.”

One of the highlights of the album is Chubby’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “I started doing that song a couple of years ago, and crowds just go crazy for it. There is so much emotion there. I’m good at rearranging and I just went for it. I’m all about going for the big moments and there are not many songs that are as big as that one. So I thought, ‘why not cover it? I do what I want to do.’”

Of course, not all is sweet and loving as Popa makes sure to rock it up with “Goin’ Back to Amsterdam (Refer Smokin’ Man)”  and the not so subtle “The Finger Bangin’ Boogie.”  The end result is the best overall album of the big guy’s career.

Track Listing:

I Don’t Want Nobody
I Ain’t Giving Up
Universal Breakdown Blues
The Peoples Blues
Rock Me Baby
69 Dollars
Over The Rainbow
I Need A Lil’ Mojo
Danger Man
Goin’ Back To Amsterdam (Reefer Smokin’ Man)
The Finger Bangin’ Boogie
Mind Bender

By Jeb Wright