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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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Showing posts with label Popa Chubby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Popa Chubby. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Dixiefrog Records artist: Popa Chubby - Emotional Gangster - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Emotional Gangster, from Popa Chubby and it's a cool, aggressive blues rocker. Opening with driving, Tonight I'm Gonna Be The Man, Popa Chubby rips on slide over a rumbling beat. With tandem vocals he sets the pace and charging drums keep the tension. A cool, bluesy melody and blues rooted slide riffs saturate the track. Solid opener.  On Morganfield's Hoochie Coochie Man, Chubby gives the blues classic his own twist, retaining the bluesy roots but interjecting just a taste or rock. With a droning bass line he never gets to fast but he does take the time to show his chops on Water's original phrasing. Very nice. Harmonica wizard Jason Ricci sits in on Save The Best For Last, a low slung shuffle with a Jimmy Reed feel. Chubby really lays on the beat giving it a pronounced lope and his vocals are prime. Ricci and Chubby trade phrases making this one of my favorites on the release. Elmore James' Dust My Broom fits into this set nicely with all of the slide and Chubby does his riffs with gusto. With that perfect tempo that makes you stomp your heel, Chubby locks, loads and fires... very cool. My choice for the radio track on the release is I'm The Dog with it's pounding boogie rhythm and great hook (I'm The Dog). Break out guitar work really kicks this one through the uprights. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Master IP (a CD only bonus track), a 6 plus minute blues jam that really seems to float. laying out some real nice riffs and soaring lead, a strong closer for a strong release. 


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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

VizzTone Label Group artist: Early Times & the High Rollers - The Corner - New Release Review

 I just has the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Corner, from Early Times & the High Rollers and it's a cool rocker. Opening with easy shuffle, Come On, Let's Ride, Early Times on vocal and guitar is upfront with Joshua Keith on drums, Dan Schnapp on keys and Hardan Long on bass. On The Corner maintains a lighter radio feel but with bluesy guitar riffs by Times and a solid drum bottom by Keith. Sixties style rocker, Do What She Do keeps it simple with a solid melody and simple beat. A strong radio track and a cool track. Bluesy, She's About To Lose Her Mind, grinds into a lumbering groove with nice piano and organ work by Schnapp under some of Times' best vocal work and some real tasty guitar riffs by Popa Chubby making this one of my favorites on the release. Instrumental, Rosie's Herbs 'n Ting is a light, jazzy rocker with a hint of Latin spice giving Times a nice chance to step out on guitar over the tight percussive rhythms of Jay Messina. Very nice. Acoustic ballad, Someone Help Mary is a nicely crafted track with solid vocals and minimal instrumental as needed along the lines of Neil Diamond. Wrapping the release is high energy rocker, Return of the Queen, with driving guitar and relentless drumming. It is actually a real cool track with vocal phrasing like Dylan and a blazing guitar solo by Times. Solid closer for a cool release. 


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Monday, January 25, 2021

Cleopatra Blues: Junior Wells - Blues Brothers - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues Brothers by Junior Wells and featuring many contemporary blues players. Opening with low slung, Blues Hit Big Town, Colin James weighs in on lead guitar with Wells on Harp. Good Morning Little School Girl lines up Pat Travers on guitar and James Montgomery on harp. I really like Montgomery's work and his interweaving with Travers on this track is tight. One of Well's most loved classics, Messin' With the Kid gets a rework with Tyler Bryant on guitar and his open tone with just the right amount of reverb works really nicely. Baby, Scratch My Back features Albert Castiglia and I always like his style. He doesn't overplay but his notes all count. Very nice. Eric Gales is featured on Lovey Dovey, Lovey One and his confident attack on this shuffle really works nicely. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Snatch It Back And Hold It, featuring Joe Louis Walker. His guitar work is fluid and fleet with just the right bend. Wrapping the release is Hoodoo Man Blues again with Walker on guitar. Walker really is a great fit for this track with his soulful trem bends and tasty fills. This is a strong closer for a very cool release. 


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Monday, February 10, 2020

Popa Chubby - It's A Mighty Hard Road - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, It's A Mighty Hard Road, from Popa Chubby and I hear a real maturing off styles with Chubby that I haven't heard before. Opening with, The Flavor Is In The Fat, a meaty shuffle with certain radio and crowd appeal. Backed by Dave Keyes on piano and organ, Steve Holley on drums, Brett Bass on bass and with a memorable melody and a singable chorus, Chubby is off to a great start. Two stepper title track, It's a Mighty Hard Road, is a blend of rock and blues and could also be a strong radio track. With it's simple melodic format and solid melody and a gritty guitar solo, this song hits home. R&B track, The Best Is Yet To Come is one of my favorites on the release with warm vocals and harmonies. Reinforcing the melody with a clean guitar solo gives this track even more radio traction. I'm The Beast From The East is a great blues rocker with plenty of swagger and featuring Don Castagno on drums. Anther of my favorites on the release is Gordito with it's light Latin flavored instrumental melody, carried by as delicate a solo guitar hand as you've heard from Chubby. Very nice. Straight up rocker, More Time Making Love, again has the radio formula. A solid melody, firm vocals and a great beat make this a certain crowd pleaser. Boogie rocker, Why You Wanna Bite My Bones has a strong walking bass line and Chubby leads the way on vocals, echoed by stiff guitar lead. On Leon Russell's I'd Rather Be Blind Chubby winds the band up, Leon style, and gets the lays down a solid rocker with a blues overtone. I really like Chubby's vocal work on this track where he just lets it all hang out. Very cool. Wrapping the release is a slightly grittier take on Prince's Kiss. The basic arrangement is true to the original but with a funky bass line, a straight up harmonica line, no falsetto vocals and less twitchiness, the track is a solid rocker to close a solid release. 

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

E-M Records artist: Eliza Neals - Sweet or Mean - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Sweet or Mean, from Eliza Neals and joined by guitar player/band leader Popa Chubby, it's a screamer. Opening with Pawn Shop Blues, a solid shuffle Neals picks up where she left off with her gritty vocals and Chubby with romping slide guitar, backed by Dave Keys on keys, Chris Gambari-Vega on bass, John Medeiros Jr. on drums and including Ian Hendrickson on sax and Michael Leonhart on trumpet. Rocker, Bitten By The Blues has solid radio feel with it's lightly Latin flavored rhythm and smooth melody with Chubby playing a rocking, Santana influenced guitar lead style. Livin With Yo Mama is a cool, slinky, boogie track with sassy vocals and some of my favorite guitar riffs on the release. Knock Knock Knockin is a pared down blues rocker with Chubby on acoustic guitar bringing Neals' farther forward in the mix vocally. Very nice. Wrapping the release is a slightly different mix on Pawn Shop Blues, a sweet closer for a solid blues rocker. 

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Popa Chubby Productions artist: Popa Chubby - Prime Cuts: The Very Best of the Beast From The East - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Prime Cuts: The Very Best of the Beast From The East, by Popa Chubby and it's a broad representation of Chuby's work. Opening with Life Is A Beatdown, a contemporary hip hop style track from from Peace, Love & Respect, seemingly directed at airplay featuring solid guitar work and backed by Steve Holley on drums and Nicholas Damato on bass. Jimi's Hey Joe, Flashed Back, is always a great track and Chubby is all over the guitar with fiery riffs backed by Larry Crockett on super drums and Kris Jefferson on bass. Very cool.  Hi stepping, Stoop Down Baby from It's Chubby Time, has a great funky beat by Don Castagno and Seth Farber on Hammond. One of my favorites on the release is instrumental track, San Catri, from the Gas Money release. Chubby's melody is solid and his solo melody lines are smooth and moving. Jazz based Caffeine and Nicotine, from Hit The High Hard One, is another of my favorites with a great walking bass line by Dean Zucchero and flashy, country jazz fused guitar riffs. Excellent! Contemporary slow blues number, Grown Man Crying Blues from Deliveries After Dark is another top track with some of Chubby's best vocals and extra bluesy riffs giving you plenty to chew on for over 8 minutes. Nice. Country based ballad, I Can't See The Light of Day from the Good, The Bad and the Chubby shows yet another side of Chubby with a with a R&B flavor stirred in and featuring Holley and Jefferson as well as Mike Latrell on keys. Very cool. With a release during the season, the release is wrapped with There On Christmas, an unreleased track with definite Phil Spector influences. This release has 15 tracks, a few unreleased and unleashed. Enjoy!



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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Popa Chubby - Two Dogs - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Two Dogs, from Popa Chubby and it's a straight up rocker. Opening with arena style track, It's Alright, Chubby shows powerful vocals backed by Sam "Freightrain" Bryant on drums, Andy Paladino on bass, and Dave Keyes on keys. With a taste of funk and a rocking backbeat, Tipitina Horowitz on trumpet and Andrew Garrison on tenor sax, punch up the track with Chubby hitting a real nice groove on vocals hot solo guitar riffs. Title track, Two Dogs, has a real cool feel with a slinky dance rhythm and screaming guitar lead under the melody. Very cool. Shakedown is a strong rocker built over a base riff like Heartbreaker/Livin' Lovin' Maid by Led Zep. This is a strong rocker with hot riffs. Latin flavored instrumental, Cayophus Dupree is my absolute favorite track on the release with solid guitar lead throughout over warm organ by Keyes. Excellent! Me Won't Back Down has a jazzy but voodoo sound like a mixture of Dr John and War. I really like this track and it's percussion laden feel and crisp guitar work. Boogie track, Chubby's Boogie has great fluidity with twin guitar leads. Keyes has a nice piano solo to balance out the track and Andy Paladino does a super job on bass giving this track a solid bottom. Very cool. The Stone's, Sympathy For The Devil wraps the release with great tempo, tight piano runs, a solid bass line by Francesco Beccaro, snappy drum work by Andrea Beccaro and a lot of vocal and guitar energy by Chubby. Super closer for a solid release. 

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Keyesland Music artist: Dave Keyes - The Healing - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Healing, from Dave Keyes, and its a breath of fresh air. Opening with boogie shuffle, Change, David J. Keyes on bass lays down a nice groove, with Dave Keyes on lead vocal and piano, Stephen Rushton on drums and Rob Paparozzi on harp backed by Alexis P. Suter, Vicki Bell and Ray Grappone on vocals. Very cool opener. On Bo Diddley flavored, Not So Nice Anymore has a great tom tom beat and nice piano work by Keyes, topped by fiery slide work by Popa Chubby. R&B track, Ain't Looking For Love has a real nice feel with warm vocals by Keyes and a nice duet with Vanese Thomas. I particularly like Paparozzi's harp work on this track. Very nice. Robert Johnsons's Traveling Riverside Blues is one of my favorites on the release with Chubby smoking the strings and Keyes digging in deep on vocals, laying down some real nice piano riffs and with Frank Pagano on drums. Keyes solos out on Boogie for Stefan, an excellent piano boogie. Boogie/gospel...yup! Strange Things Happening is a lively, gospel style number with boogie piano. Keyes shines on piano (of course) and his own vocals, teamed with The Ministers of Sound is really sweet. This is a really cool track and other of my favorites on the release. Faith Grace Love and Forgiveness is a particularly potent track with a John Hiatt feel and definite gospel overtones with 30 piece, The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir blending beautifully on queue and a soulful guitar solo by Arthur Neilson . Excellent! This release just keeps building steam with ballad, Take You Back, backed by The Ministers of Sound and Neilson again adding tasty riffs. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Box of Blues, an easy flowing, New Orleans flavored track with Paparozzi on harp, a duet with Diane Cricchio, and full horn support from Chris Eminizer on bari and tenor sax and Tim Ouimette on trumpet. Solid closer.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Blues Legend Popa Chubby Releases New Album “The Catfish”




Blues Legend Popa Chubby Releases New Album “The Catfish”

Popa Chubby Is The Catfish. Popa Chubby sits alone at the river's edge, guitar in hand he serenades the waters knowing if the song is sweet and the wind is right The Catfish will bite. Music is the bait, music is the water of life and Popa Chubby swims deeply in the swelling tides. Popa Chubby Is The Catfish.

But Who Is The Catfish? The road is long and goes on forever, the minnows and guppies must bow to the big fish. His guitar strings are the line that reaches to the deepest part of the soul. Many rivers to cross, the Catfish knows he is the boss. The king! Le Roi! The Mac Daddy! Fat, elusive, badass, too smart for the nets of those who would try to label him. The songs, stronger then ever, paint pictures , tell stories, of love, of life, of women and of the world. The music soaring to new heights. Fearless, brave, loud. 

Says Popa Chubby, “This recording is dedicated to you. You inspire me every day. You make me want to play better, write better, sing better. I love you all, you are all diverse and beautiful and you lead my back to who I truly am. Listen loud, long and often. I remain your humble servant hopefully older, wiser, louder, stronger. I thank the almighty force of creativity, light and love in the universe. Jah Jah vibration always. Stay true, stay strong, stay resolute.”

“On his newest release The Catfish, Popa Chubby offers up 12 tunes that embody the badass attitude that defines the self-proclaimed 'King Of The New York City Blues'. The Catfish is aptly titled as it delivers punch after punch of musical inspiration drawing on 25 plus years of street smarts and road worthy musicianship. The Catfish embodies the concepts that make Popa Chubby who he is. Regal and Delicious, the recording shines with multiple flavor and worldliness.” -  Blues Magazine NL

Tracks
1. Going Downtown See My Old Gal Sue (T.Horowitz) 5:42
2. Good Thing (T. Horowitz) 3:20
3. Bye Bye Love (Felice & Bodleaux Bryant, Arrangement T. Horowitz) 3:32
4. Cry Till It's A Dull Ache (T. Horowitz) 5:10
5. Wes Is More (T. Horowitz) 7:04
6. Motörhead Saved My Life (T. Horowitz) 2:41
7. Blues For Charlie (T. Horowitz) 5:58
8. Dirty Diesel (T. Horowitz) 3 :42
9. Slow Down Sugar (T. Horowitz)  6 :34
10. Put a Grown Man to Shame (T. Horowitz) 5:16
11. The Catfish (T. Horowitz) 4:01
12. C'mon In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson) 4:04

Produced by Ted Horowitz at Chubbyland Studio, Hudson Valley, New York
Mastered by Alan Douches at Westside Sound

Featuring:
Popa Chubby: Guitars and vocals all tracks; Drums and bass on 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11; Percussion on all tracks; Keyboards on 9
Dave Keyes: Piano and Organ on all tracks; Vocals on track 12
Dave Moore: Drums on tracks 2, 5, 7, 8,10
Matt Lapham: Bass on tracks 4, 7, 8, 10
Tipitina Horowitz: Trumpet on tracks 3, 9
Rich Monica: Drums on track 1


Popa Chubby upcoming 2017 US tour dates:

January
6 - Washington, DC - The Hamilton
7 - Richmond, VA - Capital Ale House
12 - Teaneck, NJ - Mexicali Blues
13-14 - Auburn Hills, MI - Callahan’s

February
17 - Schenectady, NY - Van Dyke
18 - Fairfield, CT - Stage One
19 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
24 - Mifflinburg, PA - Rusty Rail Live
25 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Mauch Chunk Opera House
26 - Lancaster, PA - Lancaster Roots & Blues

Popa Chubby Endorses Stetson Hats exclusively! 

Popa Chubby plays Fender Guitars through Fender Amplifiers.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Catfish - Popa Chubby - New Release review - by Stilladog: Guest Writer

Talk about keepin’ it fresh?  Oh yeah. This album does it.  Popa Chubby (Theodore Horowitz) is a bad man with an axe in his hand! I’ve met the man and I believe this is the album he was always meant to do.
At first you will be impressed with solid blues and blues rock songs with a touch of nasty funk.  Tracks 1 & 2, Goin’ Downtown and Good Thing fall into this category.  Next comes an instrumental version of the Buddy Holly classic Bye Bye Love, the first of many tracks where Chubby pays homage to his influential heroes.
There are rockers Dirty Diesel (a touch of Stevie Ray?) and Motorhead Saved My Life and the slow gut-bucket Blues For Charlie . Then there’s Slow Down Sugar which throughout includes a muted trumpet paying homage to Miles Davis. Later this track breaks into a primitive rap reminiscent of Miles’ Doo-Bop album that received terrible reviews but which fused jazz and hiphop perfectly way back in the early 90s.  
A couple top notch originals, The Catfish and Put a Grown Man To Shame are not to be missed and the album concludes with the Robert Johnson cover Come On In My Kitchen which is terrific!
But the crowning jewel in this excellent album is track 5, Wes Is More, where Chubby channels Wes Montgomery!  It’s basically a jazz shuffle in which Popa Chubby displays more depth and diversity than anyone could imagine. Just wonderful!  

This is a GREAT album and has a little for everyone whether your tastes run to rock, blues/rock, funk, hip-hop, or straight jazz. The Chubby man offers it all up on this recording.  This album is EXTREMELY recommended by Stilladog. The more diverse your taste in music is the more you will like this album. 

     

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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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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blues Giant Popa Chubby Releases A Bold Double Live Album & Hits The Road For A New World Tour!






Blues Giant Popa Chubby Releases A Bold Double Live Album & Hits The Road For A New World Tour!

Los Angeles, CA - 2015 was one of the busiest years for modern blues ace Popa Chubby. After the release of a stellar studio album in late 2014 I’m Feelin’ Lucky, The Chubbfatha hit the road for a relentless run of shows across both the US and all over Europe. Audiences expecting a subdued, restrained performance from this veteran star of the stage were surely disappointed as Popa came out swinging, with all guns a-blazing, firing off multiple highlights from his 26+ year career including “Sweat,” the hit single from his blockbuster major label debut Booty & The Beast, as well as fan favorites “69 Dollars,” “Life Is A Beatdown” and more! The tour was immensely successful, the energy beyond palapable, and the vibe so undeniable that it quickly became apparent these blistering performances needed to be recorded for posterity. And that’s exactly what happened at 3 venues in France. The result is this stellar double live album Big, Bad and Beautiful, which will be released January 22 on the newly christened Cleopatra Blues imprint, a subsidiary of Cleopatra Records, Inc. Chubby’s live album have always been extremely well received by fans and critics alike since anyone familiar with him knows without a doubt that the stage is where his immensely talented guitar playing skills really come alive! So don’t miss out on what is sure to be one of the most talked about blues releases of the year and catch Popa Chubby on the road with his Big, Bad & Beautiful World Tour kicking off in January!

Track List:
DISC 1
1. Working Class Blues
2. Stoop Down Baby
3. One Leg At A Time
4. 69 Dollars
5. Same Old Blues
6. Angel On My Shoulder
7. I Don't Want Nobody
8. Life Is A Beatdown
9. Palace Of The King
10. Sweat
11. Signed With Heartache
12. Rock Me Baby
13. Blues Bearin' Down
14. Chubbfatha Medley

DISC 2
1. Rock On Bluesman
2. Take Me Back To Amsterdam
3. I Was Lookin' Back
4. Love In Vain
5. Brown Sugar
6. Wild Horses
7. Another Ten Years Gone
8. Caffeine And Nicotine
9. Daddy Played The Guitar
10. Finger Bangin' Boogie
11. The People's Blues
12. Noise Making Love Machine
13. Over The Rainbow

THE BIG, BAD & BEAUTIFUL WORLD TOUR
Jan 9 - Tuckerton, NJ - Lizzie Rose Music Room
Jan 15 - Washington, DC - The Hamilton
Jan 16 - Islip, NJ - Treme Blues & Jazz
Jan 22 - Weert, NL - De Bosul
Jan 23 - Magny le Hongre, FR - File 7
Jan 24 - Pont l’ Abbe’, FR - Le Triskell
Jan 25 - La Couarde sur Mer, FR - La Maline
Jan 26 - Argeteuil, FR - Cave d’imieres
Jan 27 - Strasbourg, FR - La Laiterie
Jan 28 - Massy, FR - Paul B’s
Jan 29 - Vernouillet, FR - La Scene
Jan 30 - Queven, FR - Les Arcs
Feb 13 - Woonsocket, RI - Chan’s
Feb 19 - Mildale, CT - Tipping Chair Tavern
Feb 20 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Mauch Chunk Opera House
Feb 26 - Fairfield, CT - The Warehouse
Feb 27 - Beacon, NY - Towne Crier
March 2 - New York, NY - Iridium
March 3 - New York, NY - Iridium

Monday, September 14, 2015

VizzTone Label Group artist: Mitch Woods - Jammin' On The High C's - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Jammin' On The High C's from Mitch Woods' Club 88 recorded live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise and the talent was really flowing. Opening with Big Mamou, Woods, along with members of Roomful of Blues lays down a full tilt boogie. An excellent trumpet, sax and piano solos on this track make it an excellent opener. Next up is Tain't Nobody's Bizness with a stripped down swing. Victor Wainwright and Julia Magness join in giving a different feel vocally... and great piano work contribute to an excellent track. Classic rocker, Rip It Up features Tommy Castro and he really adds some great rockin' guitar riffs to Woods' piano and vocal talents. Backed by the Roomful of Blues horns this track rocks. Lucky Peterson is featured on vocals on Bright Lights Big City, maintaining much of Jimmy Reeds original feel. Breakin down with a little Zydeco, Dwayne Dopsie brings Jambalaya on accordion and vocal. Woods tickles the ivories adding a real nice touch. Billy Branch brings it on Eyesight To The Blind. A lot of real Chicago feel and great harp work are the key to this track. Nicely executed guitar additions and Woods on piano add to the overall blue feel. Boogie track, I Want You To Be My Baby features Popa Chubby on vocal. Woods does an excellent job of driving the boogie and soloing. Popa throws down some wicked rockabilly riffs on guitar making this track shine bright. Coco Montoya takes the lead on Rock Me Baby which has a bit more of a rock swing/boogie feel. He soloing is intermixed with Woods piano work and crisp. Victor Wainwright is back for a real doozie of a boogie, Wine Spo Dee O Dee. This is easily the shining piano track on the release. Woods holds tight on Broke as he sings the story and pushes the rhythm on piano. With audience participation, this track is a lot of fun. Branch and Montoya are back on Boom Boom. A more laid back swing than the Hook wrote it, Woods keeps the rhythm as Branch and Montoya solo. Popa Chubby is back on Wee Wee Hours and a nice easy boogie. Woods takes a particularly nice piano solo on this track giving way to Popa for a plucky guitar solo of his own. Wrapping the release is a hot, fast paced boogie, Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On featuring Dwayne Dopsie. Cool closer for a fun party release.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stony Plain Records artist: Eric Bibb - Blues People - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Blues People, from Eric Bibb and I think it's his best in quite some time! Opening with Silver Spoon, a primarily acoustic track rooted deeply in the delta but with hot contrasting electric blues riffs from Popa Chubby in the distance and bass and drums by Glen Scott. Excellent! Driftin' Door To Door has a bit more of the walking blues sound with nice picked and slide work from Bibb and Michael Jerome Browne. Very nice. God's Mojo is a quiet jazz framed blues track with nicely figured key work and light drums by Glen Scott. Bibbs vocals are particularly focused on this track. Turner Station has a more modern acoustic blues sound with Bibb and Browne on guitar. As the track builds more fullness appears with Scott on Hammond, backing vocals and electric keys as well as Neville Malcolm on bass. On Pink Dream Cadillac, Bibb paints a vivid story as Staffan Astner adds some tasty slide work. Guy Davis' Chocolate Man features Davis and and Bibb trading lead vocals and guitar with Scott on bass, piano and drums. Rosewood is a somber ballad with light electronic keyboards backing Bibbs articulate acoustic guitar and vocal. Rev. Gard Davis' I Heard The Angels Singin' has an almost Richie Havens feel with Browne on 12 string, Scott on bass and drums and featuring J.J. Milteau on harp and The Blind Boys of Alabama on backing vocals. Dream Catchers has an interesting reggae feel with Ruthie Foster at her grittiest and Harrison Kennedy singing lead and Sara Bergkvist-Scott on backing vocals. Very nice! Chain Reaction features Glen Scott on lead vocal with Bibb for some really nice soul style harmonizing. Paris Renita adds some really nice backing on this track giving it a real soul feeling. Taj Mahal is on lead vocal and banjo on this shot but critical, Needed Time intro. A more flowing and refined expanded track follows with Foster, Bibb and the Blind Boys Of Alabama sharing vocal duties with Scott on piano, Browne on electric slide, Paul Robinson on drums Neville Malcolm on upright bass. Also backing on vocal is Bob Manning, Ulrika Ponten on Big Daddy Wilson. Excellent! Out Walkin', again with a solid blues base but in a more contemporary form features Bibb on vocal joined by Browne on acoustic guitar. R&B track, Remember The Ones, features Linda Tillery trading lead vocal with Bibb. Scott adds a nice Hammond warmth as well as sampling horns from the Memphis horns. Andre De Lange shares the lead vocal with Bibb on African influenced Home. Astner joins on acoustic guitar and guitelele and Scott adds piano, bass, drums and percussion to this moving track. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Where Do We Go featuring a vocal duet with Bibb and Leyla McCalla who also adds banjo. Scott on Melodica and piano Astner on electric guitar and Malcolm on upright bass add to the quiet melody. A soft sensitive ballad, this is a nice track to conclude a very interesting release.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise #21 October 2013 - Stilladog - Guest Contributer


Welcome aboard to the world’s biggest 7 day blues party!  Yes friends, 7 days where you can’t tell the blues artists from the fans. Although everybody’s experience is different –and a blues cruise vacation is exactly what you make it– a good time is had by all… day after day!

So I’m going to tell you about my experience on my 4th LRBC a few weeks ago.   I try to get on board pretty early so I can learn the layout of the ship and how to get from concert venue to concert venue in the most efficient manner.  And by doing so you get to see and talk to some of the artists before any action really starts.  Right off the bat I ran into Cyril Neville who was as lost as my wife and I.  Later I saw Lucky Peterson on a lounge chair outside his stateroom while walking the Promenade Deck. 

The first night they always have a BBQ on the pool deck at departure. This time it was Rick Estrin and the Nightcats hosting the BBQ. The best part being when Kid Anderson went into a guitar solo playing slide with a cell phone. Next came the Virgin and Returnee Parties.  The artists for these are never announced. As a returnee I went for my free champagne at the Showroom at Sea.  And to kick it all off was Los Lobos with Lee Oskar on harp. Talk about setting the bar high.  These guys were fantastic!  I had seen Lee Oskar a few years ago with the Low Rider Band (the band formerly known as WAR but due to legal limitations cannot bill themselves as WAR any more). But I swear Lee was better with Los Lobos who were great in their own right.  The consensus opinion was that this was the best Returnee Party in history.
Lee Oskar jams with Los Lobos at the Returnee Party

After that we stayed at the Showroom to check out Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
  He was one of the artists I specifically wanted to see on this cruise.  Bman had turned me on to Walter back in about 1991 and I’d never gotten a chance to see him live.  I was not disappointed. Wolfman Washington with his jazz-infused, New Orleans funk style blues was great.  Sadly not too many people attended this show. I imagine on account of going to see Ruthie Foster instead. When Ruthie’s set ended the crowd packed into Walter’s gig for the last half hour.

As for me, when Walter’s set ended I went out to the Pool Deck to hear Royal Southern Brotherhood.  But I only heard a few tunes featuring mostly Mike Zito because I had to head back to the Showroom for Irma Thomas.  That’s the dilemma about the Blues Cruise. There’s so many good people to see and you just can’t possibly be in two places at once.  Well, Irma Thomas was great.  She did not work from a set list. She just said “This is not your regular kind of show. I’m gonna call the tunes unless there’s something special you want to hear. Let me know what it is and we’ll do it.”  Irma would not be the only artist to take that approach.

Day two was in Key West, FL.  Supposedly for Fantasy Fest which started the night before.  But by pulling into port at 8:30am all the naked spray painted Fantasy Fest breasts, and other body parts, were all in bed sleeping from the previous evening.  So we had our own Second Line parade up Duval Street led by keyboardist, Mitch Woods, dressed as Liberace and the Wild Magnolias (Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr.).  It terminated at Sloppy Joes Bar where Mitch led a jam that lasted from 10:00am until 3:00pm.
Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux lead the parade to Sloppy Joe’s

Toward the end of the jam, Walter “Wolfman” Washington joined Mitch and the band for a couple numbers. When he came down off the stage I got to talk to Walter and joke around with him. What a great guy! You may not know this, but Walter was one of the first “name” artists who started to play New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  There are many who say he saved music in New Orleans after the hurricane because so many musicians had fled to Houston, Dallas, San Francisco and all points in between to make a living since most clubs in New Orleans had shut down. But not Walter. He immediately began playing his regular gigs most notably at the Maple Leaf Bar –where he still has a weekly gig. When people saw Walter back, they came back too!

Stilladog and Walter “Wolfman” Washington sharing a joke outside Sloppy Joe’s in Key West 
 So at 5:30 the ship had to leave Mallory Square in Key West cause if any of you have ever been there for the Sunset Party (Circus) which happens every night… well you just can’t have a huge freakin’ cruise ship obstructing your view.  But that’s OK with us ‘cause Our Ship Kicks Ass and we gonna have a good time anyway.

And sure enough we did. Reason why? Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers!  Over the course of the cruise I saw these guys play 3 gigs and they were absolute Zydeco Dynamite on every one!!  Led by accordionist Dwayne Dopsie, and fueled by saxophonist Reginald Smith and washboard man, Paul LeFleur (The Marlboro Man) they rocked the ship.  What a passionate performance! I can personally attest to the fact that the man was soaked from head to toe at the end of every set.  Even the dude’s jeans were completely soaked!
Pool Deck zydeco duel between Dwayne Dopsie & Paul LeFleur


A day at sea is always filled with great blues and it took us a day and something to get from Key West to New Orleans. It was a Sunday and we got the day started with a Gospel Brunch with Ruthie Foster which was fantastic! 

The rest of day three was highlighted by more of Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, the hardest working band on the ship! A set by Popa Chubby on the Pool Deck was particularly good. Man he really ripped the place up. I was extremely impressed with Popa Chubby.   I knew he was good, but not that good!  Reminded me of Leslie West.  In fact, better than Leslie West even. And that’s saying something.  

Popa Chubby rocks the Pool Deck

Coming up the Mississippi into New Orleans I had the pleasure of enjoying the ride with Dion Pierre – bass man for the Zydeco Hellraisers and Kevin Minor –drummer for the Zydeco Hellraisers (and alumni of Hopewell High School in Aliquippa, PA) both of whom call New Orleans home.  We passed the bayous and levees.  Up past the New Orleans Battleground where Andrew Jackson and the pirate, Jean LaFitte, defeated the British in 1814.  To the canal in the 9th ward where Minor pointed out to me “That’s the canal that flooded and fucked up all this area over here.” Very few people approach the city from this direction and it was clearly impressive even to the folks who live there.

The city was impressive too. My wife and I walked about 8.5 miles that day. Started out for an Oyster Po’ Boy at Mother’s on Poydras.  Then down past the House of Blues on Decatur into the French Quarter.  Up to Preservation Hall. Past the Old Absinthe House. Over to the St. Charles Trolley and a trip out past the Garden District to the famous Maple Leaf Bar home of New Orleans blues, jazz, zydeco, and everything in between for as long as anyone can remember. A few beers and some serious music discussion with Regan the bartender and then a trolley trip back into town. Arriving just in time for a bus ride out to the Mid-City Lanes Rock N Bowl where we heard the wonderful guitarist June Yamagishi (who you can see in the HBO series Treme’).

June Yamagishi at Mid-City Lanes Rock N Bowl


Another day at sea followed featuring Ft. Lauderdale guitarist, Albert Castilia, whose set was accompanied by guests, Samantha Fish and Mike Zito.  It is about at this point in the trip that musicians who jam together until 4:00am every night on the pool deck begin to crash each other’s scheduled sets and you never know who you might see or where.  Johnny Winter? Kim Wilson? Rev. Billy C. Wirtz?  Andy Forrest? Dave Keyes? Jimmy Carpenter? They were all there and would just show up. It was great!!  Lucky Peterson was also a high point of the sets I saw on our way to Progreso, MX.

In Mexico, I guess the people who took the tour of the Mayan ruins enjoyed Mexico but I opted to stay on the ship and drink poolside all afternoon.  It was a good choice. It was a day of relaxation for the musicians. And they were hanging poolside too. I never intruded on their personal time but it was very cool to observe, for instance, a conversation between Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin, and Lee Oskar.  Now that’s some harp royalty right there!  Ruthie Foster and her band just kicking back with some fans. We caught a bit of Anson Funderburgh and Eric Lindell’s set early that evening too.

At 6:30 the next morning I headed back to the pool for the Sunrise Party except there was no sun.  It was cloudy and we had some pretty damn rough seas. So rough the pool water was completely splashing out 7 feet high!! Somebody smuggled in some tequila and vodka and I mixed my own Bloody Mary and hung out with my fellow cruisers for a jello shooter to celebrate our last day in Blues Heaven on water.  Had a hell of a time keeping my balance but I was better off than those who get seasick.

The feature of the last day was the Lucky Peterson Jam on the pool deck which was going great until Lucky decided to play some disco music and everybody kinda just walked away.  Right up until that it was smokin’.  But artists need to understand it’s the blues people come to hear and even though I agree with the Etta James claim that “It’s all blues, baby” other’s don’t. 

The last set I saw was Marcia Ball who also just said, “Call the tune and I’ll play it.” I had not seen Marcia since 1999 at the Superdome in New Orleans and not much has changed except we’re both older and grayer.  She still rocks on that electric piano and swings her long crossed leg the whole time.
Marcia Ball


Back in Florida I found myself waiting for my family to pick us up at the port alongside Popa Chubby. We all just turn into one big blues family on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.  It is an experience I highly recommend not only because the music is fantastic but it’s a very relaxing vacation.  I’ll be on the next one in January too, hope to see you on board. I’ll be hanging in the Crow’s Nest.  Just say, “Whatcha drinking, Stilladog?” And I’ll know you are a Bman’s Blues Report fan.