Popa Chubby – The Catfish CD Review
Written by Mark Oppedahl on October 15, 2016
The eighteenth CD release from Popa Chubby is titled The Catfish. His website states “Hard Swinging Blues Rock” in a self proclaimed style of “The Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motorhead meets Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson”. Big words and comparison’s coming from a big guy, with a big voice through great big Strat-urated blues rock guitar riffs. Old school fans know these claims to not only to be true but also have enjoyed just about every genre that you can filter through a Stratocaster. Add that big voice and writing style and you end up with 25+ years of quality studio and live performances. It goes without saying we here want to see and hear it live and loud but this is a studio release so here’s my take on Popa Chubby’s The Catfish.
Tracks 1 and 2 are both nice and funky with track 1 “Going Downtown” having that classic Chubby tone and style coming through especially come solo time. Track 2 “Good Thing” starts with a quick Allman Bros style guitar lead in that is further explored at the end of the verse. I’ll leave it to the listener which ABB alum the solo reminds you of!
Chubby tips his hat to Buddy Holly- “Bye Bye Love” on #3, Wes Montgomery- “Wes is More” #5 and Motorhead ( it’s titled “Motorhead Saved My Life” ) on #6.Buddy and Wes are instrumentals keeping with another Popa tradition but “Bye Bye Love” stands out more with very
nice melodic guitar work carrying the main verse line through out. “Motorhead Saved My Life”, track #6, is Chubby all the way but there’s not a Motorhead fan out there that can dispute the way he’s laying down that groove. Lemmy would approve.
SRV is tributed on tracks 8 and 9 with #8 being the slow blues version and #9 being driven with that Mary Had a Little Lamb type groove. Number 9 is the biggest departure from an expected Chubby style. A dampened trumpet carry’s the main melody line through out without any real noticeable guitar work untill the end. If the trumpet isn’t enough of a change then Chubby’s vocal rap was definitely a surprise.
“Put a grown Man to Shame” comes in at #10 with a good funky southern groove with a very Danny Joe Brown type vocal delivery. Number 11 is the title track “The Catfish” and gives another funky groove with track 12 being a good Mississippi Delta/Country Blues take on C’mon In My Kitchen.
All in all this a good release. It definitely hits a variety of styles and none typical of the in your face style he’s known for, especially live, but musicians like Popa Chubby like to keep it fresh and will reach into styles and genre’s that will surprise even their most loyal fans.
For more information about Popa Chubby including album ordering and the current tour schedule check out his website: http://www.popachubby.com
Mark J Oppedahl