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December 2001

Popa Chubby
How'd a White Boy Get the Blues
Blind Pig Records

Blues-rocker Popa Chubby (aka Ted Horowitz) crafts his own accomplished six-string prowess to some personal insights and life tales, along with a knack for catchy pop devices, on How'd a White Boy Get the Blues? (Blind Pig 5071; 51:31). The most telling pieces here are the autobiographical "Daddy Played the Guitar and Mama Was a Disco Queen," "It's a Sad Day in New York City When There Ain't No Room for the Blues" and the title track. The use of sitar-guitar on "Black-Hearted Woman" and the use of drum loops on "Since I Lost My Leg" show a particularly deft producer's touch by Popa. His "Time Is Killing Me" is a soulful ballad that suggests the influence of both Booker T & the MGs and the Rolling Stones. And Chubby's wicked guitar work on "No Comfort" is a direct homage to Jimi Hendrix's playing on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." While this project is primarily pop-oriented, Chubby's obvious love of the blues and the whole blues-guitar hero lineage comes across loud and clear on "Carrying on the Torch of the Blues." Roots blues fans may want to pass. But those who appreciate the craft of pop songwriting will find much food for thought in Chubby's writing.

Originally published in December 2001
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