CD: Popa Chubby’s “The Fight Is On”
(Blind Pig Records, 2010):
The Chub Man is back, and he’s rockin’ harder than ever – as you can easily tell with a glance at the track listing, which includes “We Got Some Rocking to Do” and “Rock and Roll Is My Religion.”
There’s still some blues in Popa Chubby’s bruising brand of blues-rock (check out “Another Ten Years Gone” and “Wicked Wanda”), but it definitely takes a backseat to the rockin’. And just to drive the point home, Chubby wraps up the hour-long disc with a live, go-for-the-throat rendition of Motorhead’s signature “Ace of Spades.” Yeah, I don’t think John Lee done it this way.
The album is brimming over with heavy, hard-pounding, in-your-face, power trio stuff. Crank it up to 11, wallow in the riff-o-rama of it all. And to be honest, Chubby manages to sell it pretty well, even if some of the songs are standing on the verge of generic arena rock. “Rock and Roll Is My Religion” sounds like a bad Kiss outtake, and I dare you to listen to the instrumental “Steelhorse Serenade” and not start singing Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded.” But at least, it’s fist-pumpin’ stuff, and not Bic flickin’ power ballads.
Chubby does manage to toss in a few curveballs, like “The Right Time” which grooves right along with an unmistakable Motown soul bounce. Then there’s “Switchblade Combs and Candy Cigarettes,” a not-quite convincing, by-the-books, Willie DeVille-inspired Spanish Harlem stroll.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that Chubby’s songs have certainly never pretended to be poetry. They’re about a shot, a beer and singing along at the top of lungs. And mostly, the songs are simply the framework for Chubby’s almighty guitarslinging, and he does plenty of that this time around – just listen to his slash-and-burn slide guitar work on “Noisemaking Love Machine.”
And heeeeyy! We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to see Popa Chubby at the Van Dyck this Friday (your choice of the 7:00 or 9:30 show.) Drop a comment below about Popa Chubby. Be sure to leave your real email address (it won’t show when your comment is published) so we can notify you if you win. We’ll draw a name at random and announce the winner on Friday morning. Congratulations, Andy!