C. J. Walsh
Popa Chubby - Stealing The Devil's Guitar
Popa Chubby- Stealing The Devil’s Guitar (Blind Pig 2006)
In which our hero, an unrepentant sinner, seeks understanding and harmony. But as he makes clear on Long, Deep, Hard and Wide, he’s also content to remain the badass:
You got a knife; well I got me a gun
Let’s go downtown and have some fun
But if ya cut me, I’m gonna kill ya
This release pulls off the tricky balancing act of offering a wide variety of musical stylings while staying true to his urban blues roots.
Soulful numbers Right On, Why I Can’t Have You or the funky Back In My Baby’s Arms wouldn’t sound out of place on a Little Milton record. Then there’s Popa’s updated reading of Jessie Mae Hemphill’s In This World, coming at you as a nicely reworked acoustic reggae piece.
Elsewhere he manages the difficult task of breathing new life into the well-trodden blues/rock genre, with songs like Virgil and Smokey and guitar tour de force Slide Devil Man Slide. While Smuggler’s Game is an ode to drug trafficking, with Arabic sounding leads snaking in and out of focus. Young Guns sounds like Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down To Georgia with great guitar and better lyrics.
You want instrumentals? Kinda Dicey is the lost intro to the Stones’ Soul Survivor, Buffalo Chips is a neat little bluegrass ditty, while the damnation theme continues with The Devil’s Guitar, a bluesy stomper. All sporting leads that are by turns supple through to broiling, though never by rote.
So, another great record from a player who can whip it out live with the best of them. This should finally put to rest the notion that he’s always gotten by on his good looks. See you in hell.