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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Cleopatra Records artist: Popa Chubby - Big, Bad and Beautiful - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Big, Bad and Beautiful from Popa Chubby and it's a great blues rocker. This double live CD is packed with power, opening with Working Class Blues and a genuine Detroit style rocker. With Chubby on guitar and vocals, the band, featuring Dave Keyes on keys, Francesco Beccaro on bass and Andrea Beccaro on drums sets a nice pace. Throwing the funk down on Stoop Down Baby, Beccaro lays down a super bass groove and Chubby's rhythm is tight. Keys and Chubby both stretch it out on this track giving it real body. Very nice! On boogie track, One Leg At A Time, it's hard to sit still as the guys really crank it up. Keyes really rolls his solo on this track winding it up for Chubby who hits it solid down the middle himself with fluid jazzy blues riffs. Excellent! 69 Dollars has a Spanish rhythm with strong foundation by Francesco and Andrea. A smooth, adventurous organ solo by Keyes really hits the spot and Chubby flexes his muscle showing his versatility with stylized Spanbluesrock solos of his own. Very nice! On blues ballad, Same Old Blues, Chubby tells it melodically with fluid blues guitar riffs. Keyes takes a real nice organ solo and Chubby is back with sting. This is bound to be a big crowd favorite! Driving boogie, I Don't Want Nobody is excellent with Keyes on the backbeat and Chubby riffing away. Keyes and Chubby exchange the spotlight making this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Sweat has a slinky 40's sound with Andrea dancing on the cymbals. Francesco plays a seductive bass line as Chubby tells the whole story. Keys and Chubby plays some real nice solo's on this track giving it just the right texture. Cool! Signed With Heartache is a bluesy track with thick slide work served up hot and heavy. Excellent! With bass a blazing, Rock Me Baby gets a Jimi style workout for a super twist. Wrapping disc one is Chubbfatha Medley, a cool surf like twist's on a few familiar themes. I like any excuse to surf out a track so I think it's a blast!

Disc 2 opens with a 10 minute plus Rock On Bluesman, a super rock anthem with plenty of guts. Rock n roller, Take Me Back To Amsterdam stirs the crowd with Elmore James style riffs and pure rocking energy. I Was Lookin' Back has a super New Orleans funk. With driving guitar riffs and super keys, the Beccaro's keep this track tight. Very nice! Robert Johnson's Love In Vain played with a nod to the Stones is really slick with a tight blues feel and screaming slide work. Excellent! This leads into a Rolling Stones pair... Brown Sugar and Wild Horses. The band is tight and solid. Caffeine and Nicotine is hot as a fire cracker with rockabilly flair. Keyes gets the piano rolling hard and Chubby is relentless wit Gatemouth and Dale like feel. Excellent! The Finger Bangin' Boogie has great style and a solid bass line. Chubby is poppin the slide again on this one and with his relentless vocals makes this one of my favorites on the release. Peoples Blues is very strong. Chubby just lays it out on this one over a nice slow walk on bass by Francesco. Clocking in at over 9 minutes it still seems over to quick. Excellent! Another chance for Chubby to slide fat and free is Noise Making Love Machine. With a hard driving rock beat by Francesco and Andrea, this track rocks! Wrapping the release is a remake of the classic Over The Rainbow. Chubby does a little Beethoven on volume swells as an intro to the now prolific track. He takes a different route to the end rather than mimicking Mr Jeff Beck, gives it a 50's rock sway but throws plenty of guitar pyrotechnics at the track giving it a genuine new life and along with Keyes' Rhodes work, making it a perfect conclusion for a super live recording.

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