Album Details

May 24, 2005
Blind Pig
Blues, Modern Electric Blues

Album Review

It's not obvious from listening to it, but Popa Chubby's Big Man Big Guitar is a compilation of two live albums that were previously only available in Europe: Live at FIP and Wild. The CD is the sister title to a DVD, too, and while the release may show every sign of being a souvenir of the video, or a thrown-together hodgepodge, it isn't at all. Chubby's known for his blistering live sets, but this collection takes a risk by having a gradual dramatic arc, starting slowly with a slinky version of "Hey Joe" and working its way up to the frenzied "Keep on the Sunny Side" and "Time Is Killing Me" (consider the solo performance of "How'd a White Boy Get the Blues," a gutsy encore). What's fascinating for returning Chubby fans is that these shows come from 2001 and 2002, and the bitter political muse summoned for 2004's Peace, Love and Respect was not a major factor yet. You can hear the beginnings of it here on his moving and sincere post-9/11 song "Somebody Let the Devil Out," but the rest of the album is old-school Chubby, ambitious in a different direction and mad at the proverbial "man," not a particular (presidential) man. The slow-burn start is frustrating on first listen, but once you realize the much more exciting second half wouldn't have the punch it has without the buildup, you'll consider Big Man Big Guitar a well-built album instead of the usual contractual obligation/quick-buck throwaway. The surprising, beer-stained version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" almost puts the album on Chubby's "A" list, but some of the man's key tracks are missing and, despite the great flow, he really needs two CDs to fully represent his sprawling live show. It hedges its bets by keeping it to one, but Big Man Big Guitar chalks up another success in a discography that has more than its fair share.
David Jeffries, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Hey Joe [Live]
  2. Dirty Lie [Live]
  3. Back Door Man [Live]
  4. I Can't See the Light of Day [Live]
  5. If the Diesel Don't Get You Then the Jet Fuel Will [Live]
  6. Sweet Goddess of Love & Beer [Live]
  7. Motorcycle Mama [Live]
  8. Somebody Let the Devil Out [Live]
  9. Hallelujah [Live]
  10. Keep on the Sunny Side [Live]
  11. Time Is Killing Me [Live]
  12. How'd a White Boy Get the Blues? [Live]
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