Universal Breakdown Blues
Bereits 1995 sorgte Popa Chubby mit seinem Debüt "Booty And The Beast" für großes Aufsehen in der Szene. Doch durch seine Vorliebe für Black Sabbath- und Led Zeppelin-Songs der 70er Jahre, widmete er sich seitdem verstärkt der Rockmusik. Die Arbeit zu "Universal Breakdown Blues" ließen ihn jedoch wieder zu seiner ursprünglichen Leidenschaft, dem Blues, zurückfinden. Und so sind auf seinem neuen Album nicht umsonst einige der stärksten Songs zu hören, die er jemals geschrieben hat. Sein fesselndes Gitarrenspiel und seine ergreifenden Texte erinnern stark an Blues-Ikonen wie Howlin' Wolf und Robert Johnson. Dass Horowitz erneut ein so starkes Album produziert, verwundert nicht. Sein überragendes Talent zeigte sich nicht nur auf "Booty And The Beast", sondern auch auf dem darauf folgenden "The Fight Is On" bis hin zur 2011 veröffentlichten Platte "Back To New York City", die bis heute jedem Blues-Fan ein Begriff sind.
Popa Chubby has the blues again. Nearly 20 years have passed since the good Popa aka Ted Horowitz made a big splash in the blues community with his groundbreaking major label debut, ‘Booty And The Beat.’
“I was busy making rock records after ‘Booty And The Beat,” Popa Chubby says. “I started playing the blues again because I had to. It became my salvation. It was the way I could survive.”
‘Universal Breakdown Blues’ is what Horowitz was inspired to craft after dealing with a painful divorce and recovery.
The compelling songs feature searing guitar lines and heartfelt lyrics, which recall the lament that inspired such blues icons as Howlin’ Wolf and Jack Johnson. Horowitz digs deep and comes up with some of the most intense songs he has ever written.
It’s not surprising since Horowitz has always had the ability to make such a moving album. The potential was always there. Such albums as ‘Booty and the Beat’ and the underheralded ‘The Good, The Bad and The Chubby’ and the inspired poke at George W. Bush with ‘Peace, ‘Love and Respect,’ are some of the most enduring records made by Horowitz.
But this time, he hits one way out of the park, courtesy of the catchy, sublime slices of his fractured life. The latest batch of Popa Chubby tunes are relatable. Who hasn’t loved and lost and had to find their way back?
“My music follows my life and that’s why I’m back with the blues,” Horowitz says. “What makes something great is true content. And when I made this I was still aching from what went down with my old lady. With all that was going on in my head, I heard Muddy Waters singing, ‘it’s been 24 hours since my baby’s been gone and that’s 23 hours way too long’ when I was driving back from the Midwest on a tour. It made me think of my situation with my old lady and it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was nothing like what the old bluesman did. They were authentic and you don’t get a lot of that today in music.”
Well, Horowitz, who impresses with some incendiary guitar runs during ‘Universal Breakdown Blues,’ moves on as a contemporary blues player. He keeps the flame alive with songs like ‘I Ain’t Giving Up,’ which is one of the most heartfelt songs of his enviable career, which has spanned more than a quarter century.
“That song came from deep inside of me,” Horowitz says. “I wasn’t going to give up the marriage. I wasn’t going to give in. There was just no way that was going to happen. I couldn’t give up but sometimes you have to. Ultimately it didn’t work out. I don’t have her but I got the blues.”
But don’t worry about Horowitz. After accepting his fate, he moved on with the spirited ‘I Need A Little Mojo,’ which is a fiery New Orleans style-party song, which proves that the big man from the Bronx is back.
Horowitz picked the perfect cover to render, considering his circumstances. He delivers a mind-bending version of the classic ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow.’ He wrings out every emotional nuance out of the song in an inventive manner. “I started doing that song a couple of years ago,” Horowitz says. “Crowds just go crazy for that song and you can see why. There is so much emotion there. I’m good at rearranging and I just went for it. I’m good at going for the big moments and there are not many songs that are as big as that one. So I thought, ‘why not cover it? I do what I want to do.”
Indeed. Horowitz turned down the role of Shrek on ‘Broadway.’ Who passes on a high-profile, big money gig like that? Someone that can only do it their way. “I’m my own man for better or worse,” Horowitz says. “I’m living in a wild time. That’s also what inspired ‘Universal Blues Breakdown.’ There are my issues but the picture is much bigger than me and my situation. Everything is breaking down in the world. The lines are being redefined. We all need something.”
What we need is some raw, powerful, edgy blues and that’s just what Popa Chubby renders. We get to chew on some deep, moving, searing cuts that come straight from the soul.