Popa Chubby,
The Fight is On
(Blind Pig, 2010)

With Popa Chubby, you never know what you're going to get. He's done albums of solid electric blues, collections that combine blues and rock and even a two-record set of Jimi Hendrix tunes. This time, he goes all out in the rock direction, putting together an arena rock record that has echoes of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and various heavy metal bands. It's music that Chubby can play in his sleep, but, fortunately, he stays awake for it.

The songs have titles like "We Got Some Rockin' to Do," "Rock and Roll is my Religion" and "Noisemaking Love Machine," so you know right off you're not dealing with sophisticated lyrics. What is sophisticated, though, is the playing. Chubby not only is paying tribute to arena rock, he appears to be trying to breathe new life into the genre, to raise the level of musicianship. He succeeds. His guitar playing shows exactly how, if you take a sidewise approach, you can make what is standard and traditional become brand new.

Popa Chubby is one fabulous blues musician. When I first put on this CD, I wondered why he was wasting his talents doing standard hard rock. It only took a few minutes for the answer to surface. He's like a geologist, finding the beauty in old rocks and mud.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

18 September 2010

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