Donnerstag, 8. September 2016

Chambers Brothers - People Get Ready (1965)


Like their West Coast contemporaries Sly and the Family Stone, the Chambers Brothers shattered racial and musical divides to forge an incendiary fusion of funk, gospel, blues, and psychedelia which reached its apex with the perennial 1968 song "Time Has Come Today." The Chambers siblings - bassist George, guitarist Willie, harpist Lester, and guitarist Joe, all of whom contributed vocals - were born and raised in Lee County, MS; the products of an impoverished sharecropping family, the brothers first polished their vocal harmonies in the choir of their Baptist church, a collaboration which ended after George was drafted into the army in 1952. Following his discharge he relocated to Los Angeles, where the other Chambers brothers soon settled as well; the foursome began performing gospel and folk throughout Southern California in 1954, but remained virtually unknown until appearing in New York City in 1965. The addition of white drummer Brian Keenan not only made the Chambers Brothers an interracial group, but pushed their music closer to rock & roll; a well-received appearance at the Newport Folk Festival further enhanced their growing reputation, and they soon recorded their debut LP, "People Get Ready".                

"People Get Ready" is the first of a handful of early live albums by the group, recorded in concert at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles and the Unicorn in Boston in 1965. The Chambers Brothers were purely an R&B outfit at the time (their psychedelic stylings being a couple of years in the future), and a good one, although they're a little bit surer on the more basic blues than on some of the R&B that they cover - their renditions of Jimmy Reed's material seem more inspired than their performance of the Valentinos' old hit "It's All Over Now," although to their credit their rendition of the latter sounds nothing like the Rolling Stones' then-current cover of the same song. The group also does a beautiful job of harmonizing on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," and shows a command of the poppier side of rock & roll on "Call Me," a group original with a catchy "Hang on Sloopy"-style central riff. This album is a good introduction to The Chambers Brothers, who show that, even at this early date in their history, they were a commanding and exciting presence on-stage.                


Tracklist:
Yes Yes Yes 3:20
Tore Up 3:00
Reconsider Baby 4:45
You'Ve Got Me Running 3:05
People Get Ready 2:30
Money (That's What I Want) 2:53
You Can Run 3:35
Hooka Tooka 2:50
Call Me 3:15
Summertime 4:10
Your Old Lady 2:50
It's All Over Now 4:41

Chamber Brothers - People Get Ready (1965)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

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