The Chambers Brothers

The Chambers Brothers Shout!

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By the time The Chambers Brothers Shout! hit the racks, in 1968, siblings George Chambers (bass/vocals), Willie Chambers (guitar/vocals), Lester Chambers (harmonica/vocals), and Joe Chambers (guitar/vocals) were on the verge of international success with the full-out psychedelic side "Time Has Come Today." However, the material used on this -- and the rest of the Chambers' Vault Records titles -- dates back several years, circa 1965-1966. This inevitably left some consumers confused, if not somewhat nonplussed, as the styles weren't exactly analogous. What listeners are treated to on this long-player is primarily the transitioning of an old-school R&B and gospel combo into a hipper and decidedly more secular soul band. While no precise date is known, it is presumed that the live material comes from the same cache of nightclub performances that yielded 1967's People Get Ready and 1968's Now! -- suggested for listening are the heavily Echoplexed remake of "Johnny B. Goode" and the ten-plus-minute medley connecting the sacred "I Got It" with a show-stopping cover of the Isley Brothers' party anthem "Shout." By contrast, the dark and brooding interpretation of Bobby Parker' s "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" reveals a rare intimacy that is missing from the significantly shorter version of the song that would be featured on 1969's Feelin' the Blues, their subsequent (and final) stash from Vault Records. The second half of The Chambers Brothers Shout!, recorded in the studio, is highlighted by Joe Chambers' own slow and ominous love song "Seventeen," which is punctuated by Lester Chambers' piercing mouth harp interjections. Another of Joe's compositions, "Rained the Day You Left," leans toward folk-rock with all the jingle-jangle guitars and tambourine tappin' that the genre became known for. The affective closing ballad, "Love Me Like the Rain," was an original penned by their drummer, Brian Keegan. Here, the Chambers transplant their rural Mississippi harmonies for a sun-drenched California blend that owes as much to the likes of the Beach Boys as to their typical influences. In 2007, Collectors' Choice Music licensed all four of the Chambers Brothers' Vault Records releases, marking the first time they have been available in over three decades.

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