Album Details

June 26, 2007
Blind Pig
Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Contemporary Blues

Album Review

The first of two deceptively similar looking discs of Popa Chubby churning out live Hendrix tunes (originally a double set on the Dixiefrog label before Blind Pig released them separately) recorded over a two-night stand in February 2006 features a sampling of Hendrix's biggest hits with more obscure material. Chubby plays with fire and enthusiasm and he's backed by a passable duo of bass and drums. But the songs suffer from the guitarist's over reliance on his wah-wah pedal and a tendency to extend the tunes past any reasonable breaking point. "Foxy Lady" is expanded to more than six minutes, "Can You See Me" pushes more than five and "The Wind Cries Mary," originally just over three minutes, clocks in at nearly eight. Such is the hazard of recording live shows; what might have been a crowd pleasing night of guitar shenanigans simply sounds overlong and exhausting removed from the visuals and energy-enhanced atmosphere of a rock club. Occasionally these longer versions click as on the changes incorporated into "Spanish Castle Magic," but more often it just seems like Chubby is playing for the sake of it and not in service to the song. Strangely, "Third Stone from the Sun," which ran six minutes when Hendrix unleashed it on his debut, is trimmed to three-and-a-half here, and worse, it frustratingly fades out as the band is really turning up the heat. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," "Catfish Blues," "Remember" and "Highway Chile" (mistakenly titled "Highway Child") are inspired choices even if Chubby's covers and especially his gruff, monotone vocals don't capture the subtleties and twists that made Hendrix's music so timeless. While this is surely better than your average garage band thumping out a set of Hendrix classics at a local dive, it loses much in the translation to disc. You'd have to be a die-hard Popa Chubby fan to want to hear these well-intentioned tributes instead of the originals at home. In other words, you had to be there.
Hal Horowitz, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Burning of the Midnight Lamp
  2. Manic Depression
  3. Spanish Castle Magic
  4. The Wind Cries Mary
  5. Remember
  6. Foxy Lady
  7. Catfish Blues
  8. Highway Child
  9. Red House
  10. Can You See Me
  11. Purple Haze
  12. Third Stone from the Sun