The Chambers Brothers

Chambers Brothers, TheFrom: Lee County, MS, USA

The Chambers Brothers played an integral role in destroying the racial and musical divides in order to form a fusion of funk, gospel, blues, and psychedelia. The band was formed by brothers George (bass), Willie (guitar), Lester (harp), and Joe (guitar) Chambers. The Chambers family lived in Lee County, MS, and were impoverished sharecroppers.

The brothers first began in the choir of their Baptist church, ending when George was drafted into the army in 1952. Upon his discharge, George moved to Los Angeles, where he was soon followed by his brothers. The four began performing gospel and folk throughout Southern California in 1954, but remained relatively unknown until they appeared in New York in 1965. The brothers added Brian Keenan, a white drummer. This not only made the Chambers Brothers and interracial band, but brought the group closer to rock & roll. The Chambers Brothers played at the Newport Folk Festival where they were well received, furthering their reputation. They soon recorded their debut album, People Get Ready.

The Chambers Brothers toured rock clubs such as the Fillmore West and R&B clubs, most notably, the Apollo. Their musical style began to reflect more of this rock meets R&B crossover. They then released the 1968 album Shout! for Vault. After the release of Shout! the band singed to Columbia, where they released their most famous album, The Time Has Come. The song “Time Has Come Today” became a major pop hit, released as a single in 1968. The single version of “Time Has Come Today” is much shorter than the album version, which is an 11-minute psychedelic soul opus. The followup to The Time Has Come was also successful for The Chambers Brothers. A New Time – A New Day featured the band’s cover of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” which also landed in the Top 40 hits. The Chambers Brothers never did find the success they had with “Time Has Come Today” and “I Can’t Turn You Loose.” Albums such as Love, Peace an Happiness (1969) and Live At Fillmore East (1970) did little to maintain the band’s commercial success. After Oh My God! The Chambers Brothers (1972), the band split up, but would reunite two years later to record Unbonded. In 1975, The Chambers Brothers released Right Moves, and the band continued to perform live for decades, despite never writing any new material. The brothers also pursued individual projects, while making the Chambers Family Choir a priority as well.

Artist information sources include: An article by Jason Ankeny at Allmusic.com

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 single “Time Has Come Today”
Time Has Come Today

  • Time Has Come Today (Single)

From the 1967 album The Time Has Come
Time Has Come, The

  • Time Has Come Today

From the 1968 album A New Time – A New Day
A New Time - A New Day

  • A New Time, A New Day

Promos

  • The Time Has Come 7 LP Promo Spot