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 (born March 3, 1938), harpist and lead vocalist Lester, and guitarist Joe, all of whom contributed vocals -- were born and raised in Lee County, MS; the products of an impoverished sharecropping family. As Lester Chambers puts it, "Sharecroppers, yes. It's a sweet word for slavery." The brothers first polished their vocal harmonies in the choir of their Baptist church. In 1952, George got drafted into the Korean War. So, with two of their cousins they wiled their time away as the Mount Calvary Juniors. Following his discharge George 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. They rented a big house at 1921 Crenshaw Boulevard with a basement they turned into a studio. The only time they came out was to go to the bathroom or to eat or to drink. They were down there 24/7 until appearing in New York City in 1965. with new white drummer Brian Keenan (B 01/28/1944 – 1985 [heart attack]). Now the Chambers Brothers were an interracial group and their music pushed 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. The Chambers Brothers' residency at the famed Ash Grove club, generated considerable acclaim. Observed then up and coming blues/folk icon Taj Mahal, "The Chambers Brothers weren't just a great band, they were an event!"As the Chambers Brothers toured rock clubs (including the famed Fillmore in San Francisco) and R&B venues (most notably the Apollo Theatre) alike, their music increasingly embraced rock, gospel, and psychedelic-soul. After recording 1968's Shout! for the Vault label, the group signed to Columbia to issue Time Has Come Today, an 11-minute psychedelic soul epic in its original album incarnation. “We set out to deliver a message of freedom and the freedom of choice, the choice to be able to speak your mind. And the lyrics to the song was, "Time has come today for young hearts to go their way. Can't put it off another day. They don't listen anyway." Okay? In 1970 Columbia records dropped the Chambers Brothers. The sharecropper record company owner did not report foreign royalties. As the sharecroppers of the record companies, the Chambers Brothers were then blackballed. In 1972 the Chambers Brothers disbanded. They occasionally reunite and the brothers also pursue individual projects as well as the Chambers Family Choir, a gospel group including the siblings' own children. The Chambers Brothers ended up with most of Bob Hite’s (Canned Heat's lead singer) famed blues record collection. Unfortunately, most of it disappeared, allegedly, in drug deals.Such was life in Laurel Canyon.