The Chambers Brothers


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The title of this compilation is quite appropriate in more than one way. Of course, the most obvious reference is to the song that put this group on the rock map, "Time Has Come Today." Secondly, a compilation by any group who is no longer making music could be entitled "Time," meaning that it is a time capsule. A third way that the title is extremely apt here is that this group really represented a single time in music. Their status in the mid- to late '60s really represented a time when barriers were being broken down. In the case of the Chambers Brothers, those barriers were both racial and musical. The racial case is obvious in that this was a time when black musicians were truly making headway in the pop culture of all of America, not just black America. The musical barriers that were breaking down, though, could be seen all over pop music. This was the era that saw Indian music in the form of Ravi Shankar sharing the stage with folk, R&B, rock, and blues. The most interesting thing about this group is that they really represented musical diversity possibly better than any other one artist did. The choice of material presented here really shows that diversity. Obviously the album opens with the psychedelic rock wanderings of "Time Has Come Today," but certainly that song is not the predominant style here. Indeed, there is no one predominating style. The music presented here ranges from that form of psychedelia to bluesy soul in the vein of Wilson Pickett to funk that is somewhat in the mode of James Brown. There are pieces that seem to call to mind contemporaries like Sly & the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix. All of these things really make this compilation a great glimpse into the varied musical styles both of the Chambers Brothers and of the time from which they came. The only real complaint about the collection that could be mentioned is that since "Time Has Come Today" is such an icon of 1960s rock, perhaps they should have included both the 11-plus-minute album version and the shorter single version, rather than just the shorter version featured here.

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