With a name that only Beavis and Butt-head could find endearing, Popa Chubby is a New York-based Bronx born blues-rock combo and also the moniker of the estimably sized Ted Horowitz.
A veteran of the local club circuit along the eastern seaboard that also gave us Blues traveler, Spin Doctors, and Joan Osborne, Chubby earned his following the way they did-slogging it out, night after night, with albums that were not so much ends in themselves as they were calling cards for scoring the next gig.
It's a serviceable act; Horowitz is a rapid-fire, heavy riffing guitarist, an able vocalist, and, with his girth, tattoos and a single tendril of hair dangling down his forehead, quite a sight. Still--are you sure Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry did it this way?
"Experimentation is what it is all about to me--more than just virtuosity," Horowitz says. "I did not start out trying to be different. I would hear something and go off to play it, and I'd just start being me after a few bars."
"Brooklyn Basement Blues" is comprised of nine originals and two covers, a fine version of Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" and Otis Redding/Jerry Butler's "I've Been Loving You Too Long." Guitar in the vein of Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Freddie King, Keith Richards and Richard Hell can be heard throughout this punky 1999 Shanachie release.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.