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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

In The Midnight Hour - Lester Chambers & Steve Cropper

Lester Chambers was born and raised with his seven brothers and five sisters in pre-WWII rural Lee County Mississippi. His god-fearing Baptist parents encouraged all thirteen of their children to sing in the choir of a little country church where his father was a Deacon. This early passion for music continued when the family moved to South Central Los Angeles in the early 1950's where the elder Chambers' help to establish the Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in a storefront building. The popularity of that new church had a lot to do with the rocking gospel Lester and his brothers served up every sunday. Around the time the Beatles left England for America Lester and his brothers ventured into LA's fabled Ash Grove coffee house and began singing their special blend of gospel and folk music. An old guitar, stand up bass and those heavenly voices led by Lester on harmonica and cowbell soon had folks lined up down Melrose in West Hollywood. One night in 1967 Ash Grove owner Ed Pearl paid them in a 1956 Cadillac and the Time had come for The Chambers Brothers to hit the road that eventually led to New York City. Along the way Lester recalls seeing hundreds of colorfully dressed, long haired kids hitchhiking away from their homes in the Midwest. This Hippy exodus inspired his brother Joe to pen the words to Tim Has Come Today: Time has come today For young hearts to go their way Can't put it off another day They say we don't listen anyway Time has come today New York was quick to embrace this unique psychedelic, rock 'n' roll, gospel group and Columbia Records scored a huge pop hit with a first ever 11-minute single. Time Has Come Today, the title track became an anthem of the era. By now The Chambers Brothers had added a white drummer (Brian Keenan) and like their good friends, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone, were filling arenas with both white and black kids for the first. In 1970 The Chambers Brothers were a major campus attraction playing to thousands of students nearly every night in auditoriums and on athletic fields. On May 4th, 1970 the Kent State Massacre forced colleges and universities across the country to cancel campus concerts and gatherings.The Chambers Brothers suffered a financial setback that they never recovered from. In 1972 The Chambers Brothers disbanded. Today Lester and his son Dylan still turn clubs concerts and festivals into rock 'n' roll church with his Lester Chambers Blues Revue.  

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