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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Chambers Brothers - The Time Has Come (1967 us, classic soul psych rock masterpiece)

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

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Sacred Mushroom - Sacred Mushroom (1969 us, fine psych blues rock)

Sacred Mushroom -- led by future Pure Prairie League member Larry Goshorn (guitar/vocals) and featuring brother Danny Goshorn (vocals) -- were a short-lived rock/blues quintet based in Cincinnati, OH. Their efforts coalesce on this, the band's self-titled debut (and only) long-player.

The album contains a blend of proficient originals as well as a pair of well-chosen cover tunes, such as the blues standard "Mean Old World" and the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." While their name conjures images of late-'60s psychedelic or acid rock, Sacred Mushroom's roots were decidedly more bluesy than trippy.

Likewise, their harder-edged performance style is well served by the tight and somewhat pop-driven arrangements, resembling artists such as the Allman Joys, Kak, or the pre-Blue Oyster Cult Stalk-Forrest Group. A few of the Larry Goshorn-penned tunes are certifiably lost classics. These include the up-tempo rocker "Catatonic Lover," which features some lyrical chord changes reminiscent of "3/5's of a Mile in 10 Seconds" by Jefferson Airplane, and the Chicago blues-style waltz "All Good Things Must End." The latter is highlighted by some inspired harp playing from Rusty Work.

The opening track, "I Don't Like You," is a funky rocker spotlighting the Goshorn Brothers' tight harmonies as well as Larry's distinctive lead electric guitar licks. Another standout is their reworking of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." The track retains a timeless pop sensibility that incorporates interweaving acoustic and electric guitar lines.

"Lifeline," the most extended track on the disc, recalls the electric blues of seminal Fleetwood Mac or Stan Webb's Chicken Shack. Along the same lines is the blues boogie rendering of "Mean Old World," which might easily be mistaken for an obscure version by a mid-'60s lineup of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

1. I Don't Like You (Larry Goshorn, Doug Hamilton) - 2:53
2. You Won't Be Sorry (Larry Goshorn) - 2:19
3. Catatonic Lover (Larry Goshorn) - 3:03
4. All Good Things Must Have An End (Larry Goshorn) - 4:41
5. I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Ray Davies) - 4:35
6. I Take Care (Larry Goshorn) - 4:59
7. Mean Old World (Otis Rush) - 4:38
8. Lifeline (Larry Goshorn) - 6:35

The Sacred Mushroom
*Rusty York - Harp
*Larry Goshorn - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Goshorn - Vocals
*Joe Stewart - Bass

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