The Chambers Brothers started out as a gospel vocal group that eventually drifted into folk music. With their 1968 single “Time Has Come Today” they created one of the greatest psychedelic rock songs of all time.
The album that spawned “Time Has Come Today” was called “The Time Has Come,” and it accurately depicted The Chambers Brothers’ versatility/identity crisis. People expecting the entire album to be a full-out psych/funk throw-down were met with a mix of soul, R&B and rock that was even more eclectic than the then current work of Sly & The Family Stone.
“All Strung Out Over You” is a hard-edged soul number that was a precursor of the Temptation’s “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. Predictable but well executed covers of “People Get Ready” and “In The Midnight Hour” are included, but an epic version of “What The World Needs Now” veered into territory that would also be inhabited by Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears.
The hidden gem of the album is the eerie “So Tired,” which is a great example of The Chamber’s Brothers uncanny harmony vocals. This slow, minor-key dirge is stark and powerful and should have been a massive commercial hit. The rest of the album is pleasant enough, but other than the big hit single, “So Tired” is unquestionably the winner of the silver medal.
As for the massive single that is “Time Has Come Today,” it’s presented here in it’s original 11 minute glory. While the edited radio version is potent (and accessible via several greatest hits collections), the full album-length version is simply awesome. Lester Chambers powerful lead vocals are front and center, joined by an effect-laden cowbell impersonating a clock and torrential drumming by Brian Keenan.
“Time Has Come Today” was undoubtedly a product of 1960s unrest, but nearly five decades later it doesn’t sound hippy-dippy at all. Bands are still covering it, radio is still playing it, and corporations still use it to sell stuff. Unscrupulous management ended up derailing The Chambers Brothers, but what they were able to accomplish during their short spot in the sun has proven to be endlessly inspirational and influential.
by Jon Dawson
1. All Strung Out over You (Rudy Clark) - 2:31
2. People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:52
3. I Can't Stand It (Lester Chambers) - 2:43
4. Romeo and Juliet (Lester Chambers) - 4:32
5. In the Midnight Hour (Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 5:33
6. So Tired (Andre Goodwin, Chambers Brothers) - 4:06
7. Uptown (Betty Mabry) - 2:57
8. Please Don't Leave Me (George Chambers) - 3:01
9. What the World Needs Now Is Love (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) - 3:20
10.Time Has Come Today (Joe Chambers, Willie Chambers) - 11:07
11.Dinah (G. Chambers, J. Chambers, L. Chambers, W. Chambers) - 2:24
12.Falling in Love (Willie Chambers) - 2:19
13.Love Me Like the Rain (Brian Keenan) - 2:51
14.Time Has Come Today (Joe Chambers, Willie Chambers) - 2:33
The Chamber Brothers
*Willie Chambers - Guitars, Vocals
*Lester Chambers - Harp, Vocals
*Joe Chambers - Guitars, Vocals
*George Chambers - Bass, Vocals
*Brian Keenan - Drums
1969 The Chambers Brothers - Love, Peace and Happiness