At 6 feet, 270 pounds, New York blues-rocker Popa Chubby cuts an imposing figure.
Just like his debut OKeh/550 Music album, “Booty and the Beast,” and the overpowering first single, “Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer.”
“Yeah, I’m a big guy,” Chubby said recently from his New York home, “but I think we get past that pretty quick.”
Born Ted Horowitz, Chubby got his nickname playing guitar in a side session with Bernie Worrell. The name stuck because it fit well with Chubby’s brand of hard-rockin’ soul music.
Chubby’s defining moment came in 1992 when he won the New Artist of the Year award in a talent search run by KLON, an NPR station in Long Beach, Calif. It earned him an opening slot at the Long Beach Blues Festival. From there, he recorded two albums on his own Laughing Bear label, which tweaked the ears at the revived OKeh label. “Booty and the Beast” was produced by Tom Dowd, who has overseen albums by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Rod Stewart, among others.
“There was a point when we were recording where we had a lot of it in the can,” Chubby said, “and I listened to it and I said, ‘This is good but it doesn’t have that thing.’ So I said we had to do it all over. I kind of made everyone mad and then we went in again and did it for real.
“What you’re hearing on that record is frustration, angst, sweat, fatigue, raw emotion. That’s what I was going for … I wanted to put something across that people could grab onto.”
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