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Popa Chubby: Brooklyn Basement Blues

Popa Chubby is searing guitarist and accomplished songwriter, as he proves on Brooklyn Basement Blues (Shanachie 9021; 55:29). Chubby (a.k.a. Ted Horowitz) composed all but two tunes on this solid outing: Hendrix’s lyrical masterpiece “Wind Cries Mary” and the Otis Redding soul anthem “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” His originals like “Shakedown,” the wah-laden “Rats Get Whacked” and the jam instrumental “Transformation” cross over into blues-rock territory while the mambo-fied “She Said That Evil Was Her Name” has a dark Tom Waits-ian feel about it. He flirts with jazz on the album’s other instrumental track, “Meat Helmet,” which has a half-hearted swing feel that won’t persuade purists. But his strongest material here is the well-crafted pop stuff like “White Devil” or the bluesier romps like “Shakedown.”

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