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Popa Chubby
Electric Chubbyland Volumes 1 & 2

Blind Pig Records

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker

Volume 1: 12 songs; 64:38 minutes; Meritable
Volume 2: 10 songs; 67:11 minutes; Meritable

New York City native Ted “Popa Chubby” Horowitz claims that playing the “Hendrix stuff” made him self conscious, but it did get him back to why he started playing music in the first place – the excitement and the raw power.

Jimi Hendrix expanded the limits of electric rock guitar more than anyone before or since. Hendrix was a master at squeezing all manner of sonics from his instrument, often with early wah-wah pedals and innovative amplification experiments that produced incredible feedback and space-time distortion. But, as you may recall, not everyone liked the over-the-top guitar excess of Jimi Hendrix, and to be honest, some of what he played, especially live, was terrible. Some of this project equals both extremes.

So, why Play Hendrix? “Good Question” said Popa. “In 1996 a Dutch promoter [created] a Jimi Hendrix music festival. Over the next several years I was slammed with fan requests to play and record Hendrix. In 2005, the blues and rock thing came together like never before. In 2006, I decided to record the project at a club in Middletown, New York. Electric Chubbyland was born. From the start it was a record for the people. Requested by the fans and played live to make sure that special spark of energy... came through. I love playing Hendrix with my own spin. Loud and proud for all the people!” 

Those Popa Chubby fans to which he refers will undoubtedly enjoy these CDs the most; Jimi fans next, and after that is unclear. But, do not dismiss Chubby without a listen. Certain I was not going to like him, I saw him live at the 2006 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Popa Chubby turned my head around with his deft guitar playing. About as wide as he was tall, Horowitz played a first for me, “Keep On The Sunny Side” arranged as a scorching Rock and Roll number.

Born Ted Horowitz, in 1990 the “Popa Chubby” Band was born. The name was taken from an impromptu jam with Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic. “He was singing a song called 'Popa Chubby' and he pointed at me.” The name captured the essence of what his music has come to represent. “Popa Chubby basically means to get excited [and/or sexually aroused]. The core of my music is about excitement. I think music should make people feel alive.”

Some of the Hendrix songs will bring back good memories as Chubby re-creates Jimi’s power trio with AJ Pappas on bass and Chris Reddan on drums. He even throws down a couple of Blues numbers, “Catfish Blues” and a slow burning “Red House,” amid classics like “Manic Depression” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”

If you are not at all familiar with Popa Chubby, but you are now curious enough to give a listen, I would recommend starting with, rather than Electric Chubbyland, Booty and The Beast. This Tom Dowd engineered/produced album was released in 1994, and the single, “Sweet Goddess Of Love and Beer,” soon swept the country and became a summer radio hit coast to coast in 1995.

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