Popa Chubby - The Catfish
By my count, ‘The Catfish’ is the 19th studio album by Bronx blues man Ted Horowitz, aka Popa Chubby. That in and of itself is damn impressive, but consider that this is also one of his finest recorded efforts. From the get-go, on the songs “Going Downtown See My Old Gal Sue” and “Good Thing”, the modus operandi is boogie woogie hip shakin’ with dive bomber wah-wah drenched lead solos. Chubby’s grunt and grind vocals coax the listener through the grooves straight to the trippy downtown honky tonks.
I adore this album’s three instrumentals. Chubby assigns “Bye Bye Love” a reggae persona, flavored by Dave Keyes’ organ fills on the off-beat, which drives the Caribbean calypso rhythm. “Wes Is More” showcases the Wes Montgomery/Chet Atkins/Les Paul finger picking technique, and “Blues For Charlie” is true-blue blues, with chorus-clean singing/stinging guitar notes: crisp, clean, and mean.
“Slow Down Sugar” is the street smart urban blues number, akin to Los Lobos, punctuated by Tipitina Horowitz’ trumpet and Chubby’s gravely Tom Waits-like spoken rap that keep the beat down on the street. The rocker of the album is “Motörhead Saved My Life”, clocking in at 2:41. “Too damn ugly for the limelight. Who wants Ace of Spades? Who wants to get laid? Who wants to get high? Live fast ‘til you die”.