George Chambers bassist of The Chambers Brothers has died. He was 88. “Pops” was the oldest member of the group, a family band that featured four brothers (from 13 sibblings) and one outsider. The group is most famous for his psychedelic classic, The Time Has Come Today – the killer four minute single and whopping 11-minute album version – which is one of a handful of songs instantly synonymous with and evoking of The Vietnam War.
I first learned about the song from the life-changingly important Tour of Duty soundtrack – one of those songs that blows your mind but never quite lets you in; keeps you guessing.
It would be a few years before I’d delve any further, somehow assuming they were a one-hit wonder, a blip.
Turns out the Chambers Brothers had history stretching back to the 1950s, to doo-wop, folk, to the church. The psych-rock wigout of Time Has Come Today was an anomaly – and big bro George, bassist for the band, was the least into it; took the most persuading to record and release.
I got hooked on the Chambers Brothers’ catalogue a few years back and devoured the lot. Some gold rests in them there hills. But if you want a single go-to then check out Love, Peace and Happiness – a double that comprises one studio and one live album. Here you hear the power and versatility of a great band. Covers galore, funk, soul, pop music, the works. Always rooted in gospel and call and response sequences.
I love the Chambers Brothers. Their music has been a big deal in my life at various times. (And a staple in many of my DJ sets over the years).
R.I.P. George Chambers
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