Popa Chubby Peace, Love & Respect

Aside from sporting the best name in the business, Popa Chubby has made a name for himself in legitimate blues circles. Weaned on ’60s rock and whipped by punk, this New York son next focused on the blues. In no time he had introduced elements of hip-hop and pop into his releases, blurring across many genres. This album marks the Chubbster at his most political. Lashing out against world events and social ills with "The Man on the News” and "Un-American Blues” is his way of affecting change and his heart and soul is in it. Often times, the message seems more important than the music — this can barely be labelled a blues release. The blues rap of "Life is a Beatdown” marries to the thrash-happy vigour of "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life” for an unsettling glimpse into Popa’s reality. "Young Man” is a beautiful, if not surprisingly mellow, anti-war composition that underlines his songwriting ability, whereas "See You in Sete” is a blistering instrumental that highlights his big chops. "Midnight Ride/Peace” closes the record with the scorching guitar power of Chubby’s live show and the twisted "The Devil Gonna Drag You Down,” is the soulful, sizzling blues you thought you were buying. Messages are great but don’t pummel the messenger in the process making for an inconsistent outing. (Blind Pig)