Nov. 23, 2022

"Time Has Come Today" (w Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers) - Episode 1016

Lester Chambers is part of the legendary Chambers Brothers, whose blend of folk, rock and psychedelic soul broke minds and barriers from the 1960s on, and who are at the forefront of Questlove's award-winning 2021 documentary, Summer of Soul.

This week we're covering The Chambers Brothers' absolutely iconic track "Time Has Come Today" in all its 11-minute glory, and spotlighting Lester's current involvement in Moonalice, a record-breaking group in their own right.

Get ready for a real trip and some real talk! Thanks for listening!

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[00:00:00] Turn up the radio and sing all along. It's time for another great song. This is the Great Song Podcast. Season's. Greetings, and welcome once again to the Great Song. Podcast. I'm Rob Alley. I'm J.P. Moser. And we're here to celebrate the greatest songs in modern music history. We're gonna tell you what makes 'em great, why we think they're awesome, and why you should too J.P.

How you doing today, man? Man. I'm doing fan. Fantastic. So we always start these episodes of the lighthearted. Joking. Fantastic. But I feel like this episode may get a little bit real. I, I agree. Our guest today, quote from his bio, escaped a sharecropper's life in Mississippi as a Survivor of three types of cancer and throwing some pretty intense racial turmoil that he's gone through.

Racial what now? Turmoil. I have a hard time with that word a little bit. Tur roll you said. So Southern to begin with, there was a little struggle. Alright. And even still this 82 year old legend who's part of a legendary band. Yeah. In the Chambers, brothers wants to spread a message of love. Come on Rob.

Tell [00:01:00] 'em what song we are covering and who we're spending some time with today. Today we are hanging out with Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers, and we're talking about the classic track Time has come today.

Has come today. Young hearts can go way. Can't put it out another day. I don't care what think. We don't listen. Anyway. Time

[00:02:00] the,

there we go. How'd you get those hays in there? In there? That's. And then later that hey, changes to time and it's just great. So. Alright. That is, the Chambers Brothers with the 19 7 67 single time has come today from the 1967 album. The time has come not so specific with the album title as with the single title.

Right. That like the album is like the time has coming. You're like, when? Exactly. And then they're If I were today, yeah. Like if I were to need to put something on my calendar, then the single's like right now it's, it's now you're at it. You're at the time. That's great. The and one thing we didn't touch back touch base on in the, fantastic.

This is episode 2 25 for us. Yeah. Here's a landmark. Come on. How about that? That's awesome. Lester Chambers out there. 80. What, what did you say? 82. 82. Still getting it. You're gonna love him. He's great. When we sit down with him in a few minutes. And he's also part of a band, which you're gonna be talking about a little bit today, called Moon Alice, which is a very cool, just kind of an idea and a real [00:03:00] underdog story as we'll learn.

So that's gonna be a lot of fun. Stick around cuz we're gonna talk about Chambers Brothers, moon, Alice, the Summer of Soul. It's all coming together today. The Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. It's gonna be it's gonna be a real dope episode. So let's talk a little bit about Time has come today.

You know, that song you might not be able to immediately reference if you're of a certain age. You know what I mean? If you're, if you're. Younger than probably maybe 50. I'm not sure that you would go, oh yeah. The time has come today by Chambers Brothers. But you know that song for sure, because you've heard it in like, I don't know every movie you've ever been to , every commercial you've ever seen.

Right. Definitely any movie you've ever seen about Vietnam. Yeah, you've definitely heard that song. Absolutely. It's like the If the question is like fortunate son, time has come, today is the answer on the other side of that question. You know what I mean? So with, with like Vietnam stuff, a hundred thousand percent, you've, you've heard this song in everything that's ever been made about Vietnam.

I think it's like, it's at [00:04:00] this point, it's almost like Vietnam parentheses, time has come today, . So yes, that's where you've heard that before. It went to number 11 on the hot 100 where it sat for five weeks. Never did quite crack the top 10. It stuck at number 11 and and then went off from there. It did crack the top 10 in Canada where it went to number nine.

The album went to number four on the billboard pop albums chart, and number six on what is now the top r and b slash hip hop albums chart, but was then called the black albums chart. It was release. Twice as a single and in three different versions. First in 1966, which we'll talk more about later.

It's like 42 minutes long. Yeah. Then again in late 1967 both of those by Columbia Records. But the first one was, was kind of an angsty almost like an underhanded release. We'll talk, we'll talk about it in a minute. . Yeah. Like you said, the, the original, the full version is 11 minutes.

Let's see, 1102. The [00:05:00] original is clocking in at so it's, if you're gonna listen to the full thing, you're gonna need a minute. That's, but it's worth it. Like it's a full blown it's a full blown expedition. There you go. We can say that. And it's kind of a you might not hear it yet, but you will the further in you listen an exploration of psychedelic rock and soul.

This, this combination, which is the thing that we've never really talked about. Psychedelic rock really before. We've never gotten into like the doors or, you know, did we touch on it with Pink Floyd? A little bit? Maybe a little bit. Gosh, that was so season one, long ago. That was over 220 episodes ago. Geez.

Speaking of side note, this was just great. We got a message last week from a listener in, was it Sweden? Sweden who has, was like, I've been listening since the very beginning. And we were like, how cool Holy cow is that, you know, from somebody in Sweden that's like, I listened every week, can't wait for new episodes, blah, blah, blah, blah.

We won't use your name for privacy reasons, but you know, we probably botch it. You know who you are. So thank you. That's right. Thank you so much. But yeah, so [00:06:00] it's, you know, psychedelic rock and soul and something that the Chambers brothers were really pioneering, like they were. This kind of sound wasn't fully in existence yet, and definitely not like widely, you know, whatever.

And especially for black artists like this, this kind of rock wasn't being done by black artists at all at this point. You think about guys now, like Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark, Robert Randolph, all these guys have the Chambers brothers as predecessors, you know, of sorts for the guys who went through that door first as like a black rock band.

Mm-hmm. , you know not without having to fight for it though, no less than legendary a and r man. We've talked about it before. Clive Davis was dead set against them recording this song. He told them no way. And according to Willie Chambers, their producer David Rub in literal tears, told them, I've waited my whole life to record this song.

Now he's not gonna, now he's gonna tell us we can't record it. Why? Clive later told the brothers that this song isn't the kind of music that black guys [00:07:00] produce or play. He said it was too profound a statement for four black guys to be saying Time has come today to the world. And he said, quote, it's not your kind of music.

We'll get a white artist to record it. Ouch. So at that point, the brother said, screw you. , they took one take of it with their last moments of studio time and had it mixed, mastered and released behind Clive Davis' back incensed, Clive fired everyone associated with the recording and production of the song according to Willie Chambers.

So they just went not we're doing it, and the producers like, no, I'm doing it. And he said, he said, I know I'm gonna get fired for this. Knowing full well what was about to happen, he was like, this is an important song and I have to record it. So that's the original version that came out in 66. And then what you hear later as the more famous version is when the record company you know, Columbia relented to, and put a little more time and effort into the production becoming the legendary track that we're talking about now.

So a really neat story and. And a, [00:08:00] a song with some like principles built on it. Yeah. You know what I mean? This song has blood, sweat, and tears behind it. Yeah. You know? Good. And so very cool story to hear that like, somebody had convictions about this song and it was like, no, this has to get done.

Even if it cost me my job. Yeah. Even it cost my whole team their job . Which by the way, is that, where is that? Like it's, it's bad enough to take down yourself, but if you're like, this is gonna cost you your job. Like, like if, if we had, if we had an opportunity for the show right. Okay. And it was like, you know, we're gonna be, we're gonna be part of some baller network or whatever, or, or there's a chance for us too.

Right. I'm like, We've gotta go to Reno to be at this interview, to be part of this network that's, that could change everything. Uhhuh. Right? And I feel strongly about this, and I went and quit your job on your behalf , so that we could go to that interview. I show up at Enterprise and they're like, no, you're, you're not with us anymore.

Yeah. It's like, yeah. It's like Rob said that. That's awesome. I believe that in this so much. I believe it's so much that you quit . [00:09:00] That's funny. Let's see. The Chambers Brothers were chambers brothers were originally a gospel group. But they branched out into folk and then they electrified the folk and then they psyched ized the electrified fault.

Oh, I love that. And that's kind how you get, how you get where we are now. You know, they were going electric at the same time as like, Bob Dylan. Dylan, yeah. They actually, we talked with Lester a little bit about that. So that'll be really good. Yeah. I really, joy hear us talk about the The festival.

Interesting moment. Talk, talking to Lester, we're gonna hear some ups and we're gonna hear some downs. And, and that kind of moment with Bob Dylan has both at Newport. Yeah, it's kind of a, a, you know, a happy face, sad face, you know, thing that's good in that moment. So a couple of listening notes on this for me, a several, let's say, several listening notes.

First of all, the first thing you hear on this, this could have easily been the third part of our, like cowbell exploration earlier in the season. You get these two [00:10:00] cowbells at the beginning, which sort of signify. The ticking clock throughout the song. Right? That's the sound of time. That's time coming today.

Right. And it kind of ebbs and flows throughout the song. So the song has a big tempo swing in the middle section, not play with a click. So yeah, this is definitely not on any kind of tempo map whatsoever. There's some great like sixties panning in the mix. The drums are all the way to the left if you're listening in headphones and the lead guitar is all the way to the right.

Whereas now, so now if you listen to drums, it's not even that drums would be like in the middle drums. Now, if you listen to almost any drum mix, go all the way around your head. So, and it depends on the mixer. And I, I think mixers who are drummers tend to mix it one way and mixers who are not drummers tend to mix it another way.

Okay. . If you listen to most recordings, drums are mixed as though you are looking on stage at a drum at a drummer. Okay. Okay. So you have [00:11:00] kick and snare in the middle. In the middle. The high hat right to the left. The high hat would be on. On, oh, on. No, the high hat would be the right, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Sometimes in the middle. It depends. But then the Toms are where you can really hear it. Toms and symbols. So Toms would go hide a little boom, boom, boom, from your right ear to your left as though you were watching a drummer looking at it straight on playing that way. . And then symbols like crash symbol on your right.

Crash symbol two on your left ride symbol, probably on your left as well. Mm-hmm. , some mixers. Mix it the opposite way pan wise, like you are the drummer, like you are sitting in the drum. That's how I was thinking. Like boom, boom, boom. If I'm the drummer, yes. I'm mixing it like I sit and like I hear it and that's how I mix.

If I'm, if I'm mixing, I, I mix drums that way usually. And I know, like I know for, I'm, I'm almost positive that I can say that. Like for sure when Mike Portnoy was in a dream theater, they mixed the drums that way as sitting behind the kid. Right. And that is what I like to hear too, [00:12:00] cuz it helps you think if you're playing like I'm playing along.

Yeah, exactly. You know, then okay, whatever. But anyway, so that for me makes it feel more like. But that's, that's a, that's probably a commentary on how I like to think about music. Mm-hmm. , I like to listen to music as I'm playing, thinking about it as though I'm playing it. Same, same. Not as though I'm watching it.

Uhhuh. Same. I love that. That's right there with me. So, anyway, but in, in the sixties, you, you had a lot of, like, they would set up the stereo field, like maybe the band was on one side of the stage and the vocalists were on the other side of the stage and you were kind of in the middle. Mm-hmm. You know, so you might get like some beetle stuff and stuff like that.

You would have a lot of, the whole band is on the left side and the vocals are all on the right side, that kind of thing. Yeah. I played a, I was like DJing a wedding reception and I had a speaker set up that wasn't in stereo and so I played, I Wanna Hold Your Hand by The Beatles. And it's just, the music just mono in very distant.

Like, yeah. I'm like, what the heck is going on? like, [00:13:00] it's back there just barely. Playing. Yeah. Playing into a stereo system with a mono source, uhhuh or, or vice versa. Can be, can be really interesting. Yeah. Stuff that you would never imagine would happen. You just assume that like, you know what I mean?

Where's the wor, how'd you make a soundtrack? . Exactly. Yeah. Did you get split tracks for this? Where'd you find that? Where'd you find split tracks for Bruno Mars , you know, in the world split tracks are a thing that they use in church. Let me just explain. Yeah, it's good. Split tracks were a thing where you'd have like left, left side music and right side vocals and you could turn one up and down.

Yeah, exactly. You could turn the vocals up and down, so like, if you needed for rehearsal or, or if your choir sucked and you just needed to add some, a little bit more, a little more juice. Yeah. Okay. Let's see. About three minutes into the full version of time has come today. We get into a full blown exploration, you know, rock funk freak out the tempo slows and then builds back up again.

You've [00:14:00] got delay on delay on delay, like there's everything going on. Let's play a little bit and I'll talk through it. We've got delay now on the cowbells and this chant of time, just relentlessly as as time is.

And then you're gonna get some fuzzy guitar solo coming in. You can almost see the cameras doing that. Sixties, quick cut, zoom in and out, you know what I mean? Like

here we go. Now there's a tempo. There's your guitar solo on the right side. Definitely didn't have the tap tempo on the delay. Like just keep it going. And now we're in full blown Austin Powers mode at this point. Right. This is just a freak out. [00:15:00] This is like the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka. Yeah. You know, slug worth.

Yeah. This is, this is all, everybody's dropping acid. That's so good. It's like the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka. I love that. That's where we are. Right, right there. And that continues for quite a bit. That's right. It's just in and out and, and buckle up. It's right, it's a trip. For sure. And then about five minutes and 30 seconds in, you can tell me if I'm wrong on this.

Okay. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think this is intent. I'm gonna, I'm gonna say I think this is intentional. Okay. About five minutes and 30 seconds in, in the guitar solo, which is on the right side, there is what sounds to me like an intentional quote of Little Drummer Boy played by the lead guitar.

Okay? Okay. Let's listen back to it. I think it's intentional, but let's listen. Okay.[00:16:00]

I mean, that's it. It's the,

does it go up there? And the drums are like, they're doing a lot. You know,

it could just be a VA that they were like, but even

it's, so, it's really close.

It's close enough that if Marvin Gaye had written the Little Drummer boy, right? There'd be some court stuff going. There would've been a lawsuit. Okay. So I, you guys, you guys, tell me what you think as we record this episode too. It's in November, it's holiday season. Maybe we've got Christmas on the brain.

It's true. Maybe I'm just, yeah, maybe I'm just smelling cranberry sauce in the air and whatever. But we just had yams last week.

all time. Classic gag on this show. A bag of yams that has to be, has to be a T-shirt, limited edition bag of yams [00:17:00]T-shirt coming your way, guaranteed bag of yams and and drumstick banging on a pole have to become t-shirts from the scene. All right. And then you get about six 40 in. You get basic drums just getting.

With some like screams and creepy laughter.

Wait for the laughter.

It's like, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho. . This point, it sounds like the time that has come today is definitely the time for Satan to drag you to eternal torment. But with good music you even get some like, I dunno what that is, is that the pipes of pan in the right side, [00:18:00] you get feedback and just craziness. Dude, it literally reminds me, you know that track by staying St.

Augustine in hell? Oh yeah. Where there's like an interlude where the devil's talking and then he's like, okay, break. So like, that's what it makes me think of devil like sipping on a latte. All right. Let's see. And then and then you get back and they, and they finish out the song as though nothing happened.

Like, you know what I mean? Oh, if in case you forgot. Time has come today

and somehow it means more after all that, you know what I mean? It's like, we've been through all this.

I've been lost. My soul has been psyched. De it's like there's a, there's something really powerful about that. Repetitive [00:19:00] time. It's like a call to, I won't say a call to arms, but it's a call to action. You know, it's like a, a wake up thing or like a, I don't know exactly what this means. And they've never really said like, this song is about this.

You know what I mean? But it means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Yeah. And part of it I think is that, that repetitive time, it's just, it makes you wanna do something. It makes you want to take action, take action about something, you know, whatever is important to you. It's a reminder, like, it, it's time to do this.

Yeah. There we go. Why don't we take a second and meet the band before. Before we do that, let's touch a little bit on Summer of Soul, because I'm gonna tie in my Meet the band section to, well, actually I'm gonna tie this stuff. We can meet, let's meet the band and then we'll touch on on Summer of Soul.

Okay, let's do it. Hey, let's meet the, it's time to meet the band. Hey mama, let's meet the band. Let's, all me the band.

All right, so I'm going to introduce you to the Chambers Brothers quickly, and then I'm gonna touch a little [00:20:00] bit on Moon Alice, just so that we can mention who that is cuz there's two different version, there's, you know, multiple versions of this song. But most recently Moon Alice is now doing this live with Lester and that's his newest project with his son Dylan.

So we'll talk a little bit about that and you'll meet Dylan briefly in the interview as well. Absolutely. So, hey Harson for a second. You get to meet father and Son's. Pretty cool. So the Chambers Brothers, we got George Chambers, Joseph Chambers, Lester Chambers, Willie Chambers, and Brian Keenan. So there's your Chambers brothers.

Yeah, meet the band. I'm just gonna touch cause I'm gonna list a lot of names. Then in Moon Alice, you got Roger Mcmi. Pete Sears, Pete Sears is a, he's a legend. He played the Jefferson Starship, all kind of stuff, so he's, he's big time Barry Les on bass and guitar, and these guys play a lot of different instruments.

So all three of those guys all played bass. They all played guitar, so like they all do a lot of different things. John Molo on drums, love John Molo. Oh man. Now y'all have heard me and Rob gush over Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Yeah, for a long time. Rob [00:21:00] is a Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers guy. I'm the Range, but Rob also likes the range, obviously.

Yeah, I love the range. I just, yeah, I, I. Yes. I think overall I prefer the solo slash noisemaker era. So anyway, Molo part of the range on keyboards Jason Crosby, and then all these people are vocalists from 2021 to the present in Moon Alice. Yeah, so Lester Chambers, Dylan Chambers, Erica, I hope I don't botch the last name on all three of these.

It's Erica, Chloe, and Rachel. And the last name is Tn, I think it's T I E T J E. Okay. Yeah, I have no idea to pronounce that, but it's Erica, Chloe, and Rachel. Okay. So on, on vocals right there, some former members of Moon Alice Ann McNay Jimi Sanchez and GE Smith from the Saturday Night Love Band. Yeah, how about that?

An occasional special guest, Jack Cassidy. Yeah. And a couple of Fillin members Kurt Bacara and Moki Seigel on board. So, and a funny thing about Roger McNamee. Two, two funny things. One, he has a stage name. Did you catch a stage name? It's. [00:22:00] Chubby Wombat. Moon, Alice . Chubby Wombat. Chubby wombat.

Moon. I as, and I assume now I don't know this and I didn't see this in any research, but I assume that the name Moon Alice is a reference to the Honeymooners, right? One of these days. Bang. To the moon. To the moon, Alice. Oh, that's good. I assume that's, that's what, that's a reference to. That makes sense.

But if anybody out there knows better Dylan, if you're listening, let us know . But the other funny thing about Roger McNay is he's kind of the, you know, the. Progenitor of Moon Alice, and he is a finance venture capitalist. Yeah. Like, he's not like a lifetime rock and roller, although he is played his whole life.

But it's, he's not like a, a career touring musician. No. He was, he was like an early investor in Facebook and he is on a special advisory board for Wikipedia. He's like a, he's a money guy. He's a money guy. Yeah. And so I imagine that he, you know did the early financing to get the group off the ground and to kind of get them going.

But they've been a, a heavily touring group for about 15 years. [00:23:00] And Well, he was in the band called, they were the flying other brothers. The flying other brothers. That's right. That's what this, this touring group als formed out of. Do you hear what their other name was? They got sued for by the Dooby Brothers.

They were the Dooby Decibel system. The , which is hilarious. The Dooby Decibel de system. But how could you sue off of that? I don't know. They said, and so they just change their name, but they were, that's so it's not, that's a great name. It's not like the word Doobie itself is, is intrinsic to the Dobe brothers.

Somehow they, I guess they, that's funny. It wasn't worth the fight for him. When you're at that level, you're like, we'll just change the name. It's okay. That'd be a great name for a, for like a, a tribute band. Do Brothers Tribute I'd freaking love it. Doobie Decimal System. That's great. So Moon Alice has a, a significant achievement in rock history because they, moon Alice are the first independent band to get a million downloads of a song from their own servers.

In other words, directly from the artist without any third party. This is not, that's pretty cool. This is not from iTunes, you know where you buy it. They, they [00:24:00] got a million downloads of their song. It's four 20, somewhere from straight from their website, and it now has more than 2 million downloads directly from them.

And so the, the digital logs for that song have been archived and preserved by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for that distinction of being. That's pretty cool. The first, the first independent. Direct, what's it called? Direct to, like direct to consumer, essentially without a middleman. They've sold 2 million copies just of that song.

That's a lot. Yeah. I mean, that's incredible. And that kind of shows you the, you know, the time they're putting in you know, going around the country, playing at, you know, whatever it is they're playing at. To be able to get that song out there enough that it's been downloaded 2 million times independently, Tom

So we were talking about, before we started recording, I was saying, if you better believe, if my name was Tom and I was running for political office, this would be my song, right? Because there's enough of that. If you listen to the way they [00:25:00] say, they don't say the. Time. Right? It's Tom, it's not t h y m e.

It's not a spice. Yeah. It could easily be Tom, if you're, if you're reading the word Tom and you heard that it would be Tom, right? So that this would be for sure my campaign song when I get out of my campaign bus. You know, you're hearing Tom has come today and they're like to crowd goes Tom with their signs.

Dude, come on. Picketing signs. Who can we help? We need to find a political candidate that we can back and get behind and be their like tour manager. And we can, we can let this be the thing. Which musician named Tom would we want to run for office? Not Tommy Lee . Yeah. Who? Tom Jones. . Thomas code today.

You get the right age group. Everybody would get it. Dude, that's awesome. Yeah. That's it. Tom Jones, probably Tom Jones. Right? This is not a, this is not a. Statement about Tom Jones's politics or our politics. I have no idea what he's . It's just simply his name and age. It's his name Tom. All right, that's great.

[00:26:00] Let's talk on the Summer of Soul. Talk a little bit about it. Oh, yeah. So I watched, I watched 83% of it, I guess, so that's a random number. Did you get to Mahalia Jackson? Yes. It freaking all Holy cow. But you didn't get to Nina Simone then if you I think she's the very last. Okay. Now I don't remember Nina Simone on it.

Okay, so Summer of Soul is documentary that came out in 2020 or 2021 that I think it came out in theaters in 2020. Okay. If I'm not mistaken. But and quest, love from the Roots you know, Saturday Night Live, not Saturday Live, excuse me. Jimi Fallon. Jimi Fallon late night with Jimi Fallon. And he, he put this footage together so.

It's a documentary about, and really just a presentation of the Harlem Cultural Festival from 1969, which I didn't realize was right around the same time as Woodstock. It was happening same time as Woodstock. And originally to try and get some traction on this footage that they had made, they called it Black Woodstock.

Mm-hmm. , like they were like, this is the, and essentially it's the same [00:27:00] thing. I mean, there was like, they did it for, so they basically did concerts every weekend, throughout the entire summer in 1969. And the backdrop of the whole thing is political unrest particularly in the black community. And, and part of the reason they started the Harlem Cultural Festival, this was, I believe the third one.

I think the first one was in 67. And then in 68 they started bringing in music and stuff like that. It was more of like a fair, the first time around, I think. And then they started bringing in some like, you know, kind of local acts and stuff the second time. And then the third time, the, the promoter whose, whose name I am Losing, and I cannot, I cannot.

Tony Lawrence he like worked his tail off and he, he weaves together this. This event with like tape and string and whatever, and it's the only way this was gonna work is if everybody held up their in, if everybody, everybody's like, are, are they doing it? Like, yes, are is so and so doing it, right? Like, it's awesome.

And so, yeah, [00:28:00] pretty much everybody's participation was predicated upon the participation of somebody else, Uhhuh, right? So they're like you know, he, he's like, okay, I've got Gladys Knight, right? And the, and so the next, the next person he goes to, you know, is like, oh Gladys Knight's gonna be there.

Okay. Right. And then the next person's like, oh, okay. You know, Edwin Hawkins. Singers are gonna be there. Right. We'll do it if they're gonna do it. You know what I mean? Fly the family Stone's gonna be there. Yeah. Okay. We'll be there. It's Stevie Wonder. Great. Okay. So it becomes this huge lineup and he's just going, God, I hope this works, Uhhuh.

You know what I mean? The whole time. And, but it ends up working like magnificently and it's a, and it's a just a sea of people in the, in the park, in Harlem. And the lineup is incredible. It's awesome. Okay. I, it literally, and the first. , the first thing that you see in the documentary is Stevie Wonder.

Right. But, but the but the first, the first full act that you see is the Chambers Brothers. Yeah. Doing time has come today. And that kind of sets the [00:29:00] stage and the, the whole thing is like there's been. Years of political unrest, especially in the black community. And there's been, you know, after the assassinations of all these people, Martin Luther King Jr.

Malcolm X Bobby Kennedy, Kennedy, John Kennedy mm-hmm. and Kennedy. And y'all are like, what's the big deal about the Kennedy's? They're white, but they were big proponents for the black community. That's right. Yes. And all these, all these leaders and politicians who were either part of, or, or, or helpful to the black community keep dying and being assassinated.

And so they start actually doing these festivals in the summertime when it's like hot to try and give people something to do to you know, to, to keep people from like having ideas of, of, you know, riots and that kinda violence. Yeah. And violence. Yeah. And unrest. Before we list all the artists, let's take a quick pause because my stump the genius ties into the summer of summer.

Okay. Okay. So let's pause and let's do this for just a second. Stump the genius, stump the genius, Stu the genius. It's time to stump the [00:30:00] genius. Don't come and take your part. I take your part. So we're gonna play Stump the Genius, all about the Summer of Soul. Okay? So this is from the Summer of Soul Film.

I'm gonna play five songs. Let's put a timer on the clock. Let's do, man, I think 35 seconds, maybe 40 seconds. Let's do 40 seconds. Let's give you some more stretching me. All right. 40 seconds sounds. 40 seconds. Let's do 45. We'll be gracious. Okay. All right. 45 seconds. I'm gonna play five songs. And these are all artists that played at the Summer of Soul Festival.

Okay? They won't be the song necessarily that they played, okay? But there's five artists that played, right? We'll see, we'll see how it goes. Well, you know what? Let's make it, let's give you 50 seconds, because some of these songs take a bit to get started. Remember when I started with 30 seconds and before they be like, we got seven minutes.

You're getting soft in your old age. That's right. Here we go. Okay. So five of 'em, here we go. 3, 2, 1, go.

That's that's BB King. That's BB King. Yeah.[00:31:00]

Is this is oh my gosh. I can't think of the names. No, skip, skip, skip. I'll come back to it. This is oh God. Help me. That's Gladys night. Gladys night. Yep. That's Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder Man. This one might take a minute. I need to skip ahead.

Is all your daddy? Is that Mahalia? That's Malia Jackson. Let's go back to this one. See if we can pick this one up. It's Dog Garnet. I know the, I can't think of the band. I cannot think of it. Oh my gosh, I see them. I can't think of the name Slide. The Family Stone. Thank you. Love it. Slide in the family stone.

My gosh. So I watch, they do a simple song actually on the on the, at the Harlem Cultural Festival. Yes. So I intentionally didn't pick that one. Or Everyday people. Okay. Yeah. And everyday, yeah, everyday people. I was reminded how much goes on stage with them. Trumpet, [00:32:00] guitar, bass, Sly, the cool guy on sparse keys threw a, he's playing keys through a fender guitar, amp purple accents on his black shirt.

And the drummer's elevated in like the top left. Horrible drum placement for like sound quality and like, he's up in the top left, like so far removed. But looks freaking cool visually. And I know he can't hear up there. Yeah, it, it was wild. There's no monitor. Really good monitor placement. I'm always curious like what the sound situation was on stage in 1969.

Yeah, exactly. It's like how loud can we turn up our amps so that the drummer can hear on stage? David Ruffin comes out he had just left the Temptations. He comes out in a wool coat in the middle of August. Yeah. He's like all And he kills my girl. Yes. He seriously like, It is a night and day difference, the recording of my girl and that versus watching him do it live.

Yep. He murders that song. Absolutely. I mean, in a way that I, you just don't realize that's like, give me that. I [00:33:00]prefer that. I mean, my girl's iconic. He takes it to, he owns absolutely. However many thousand people were there at that moment. He absolutely is. Every one of them owned it. Absolutely. Gladys Knight does hurt to the grapevine.

And I watched, like I found myself watching the choreograph dancers. I was watching, you gotta watch the Pits. I watched the Pips the whole time. And the piano player, I don't know if you saw how he sat, but like he sat with his back to the audience the whole time and just faced the drummer. Oh yeah. I so like, so the drummers in the back lip.

So the piano player is like, he's not there for the crowd. Yeah. He's there to keep. In the pocket and locked in, which, which I loved. And I read, I don't know if you or I didn't read, I saw this, that they were talking about how Stevie's section was the exact same time as the Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

Yeah. Like the exact same time as the Apollo 11 was. It's crazy. Stevie playing drums. So the, the way that, so okay, going back to the beginning about this thing, they, it was the, it was the first major festival like this to be fully documented and recorded. Right. And they, so they, they recorded a mix for audio [00:34:00] and they had good camera crew out there to record the thing.

But the deal was they could never get anybody to distribute it. Yeah. They could never find a home for it. Even though it's like on equal footing with Woodstock in significance, you put those names, I mean, that's big name. I mean, BB King, Gladys Knight, Sly, family Stone, Stevie Wonder, it. But for reasons and we'll, and we'll talk to Lester Chambers about some of these reasons, it never, it never saw the light of day and it sat for 50 years.

This, you guys, you have to watch this and I'll, and, and this is maybe just a dig on myself, maybe because I'm really white Right. But like, I didn't know about it. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. It's the kind of thing that you don't get taught about. Yeah. You don't hear about it. And so that's one of the reasons that they started calling it black Woodstock, hoping that at least by, would get some traction and by that name would get some traction.

And it just never, whatever. So to Quest loves credit. He, he, he pulls it out after 50 years and goes. It had literally never been seen before. Yeah. You know what I mean? That's awesome. To and for and the footage is [00:35:00] good. It's not like B-roll. No. It's like good quality footage. It's amazing. And it sounds great.

Like they mixed it just perfection. And, and so it is a freaking fifth dimension singing Aquarius dressed in all yellow. It just like pops off the screen. Yeah. It's so vibrant. It's, yeah, it's, it visually great. And you get to hear like for, for me, stories about some of these groups that I didn't know. Yeah.

And, and the, the backdrop of the whole thing being set, you know, there's kind of a narrative running through it about the political climate and, and you know, Stuff about things that these groups had been up against. And even just that the black community in Harlem had been up against I, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna lie, I literally, I cried through the whole thing.

It, it's one of those things where like, if there's, if there's anything on earth that just breaks my heart, it's racism. Like, I just cannot, I cannot comprehend racism. And just, just watching it, seeing the, the, the idea that this thing had been put away for 50 [00:36:00] years, mostly just because it was black groups and not white groups.

Mm-hmm. was like, What the, you know what I mean? Like, just broke my heart and there's these, that's not fair to the black community, but it's also not fair to the music community. Yes. Cause I'm like, I felt like I'd been kept from this. And that sounds silly, but like, no, I, I should have everybody should be as available access to this as they are to the Woodstock stuff.

Absolutely. And I, you know, I wrote this whole thing down and I, I think I ended up erasing it. I was gonna like post it and set fire to Facebook . But like, you know, the, the idea that, you know, I understand it's important culturally for there to be like black music and for there to be like you know, Latin music and for there to be European music or whatever.

I understand that there is value in that, but also the. Musical. Just musical. And thus, as a result, cultural opportunities that have been missed [00:37:00] because of of, of racism. And because segregating people trying to separate these things, you know, and keep these things from blending together and seeing what happens is just, you know, heartbreaking and unthinkable.

Like, and forget. And then it goes beyond music too. Right? You know, you, I mean, you just think about if, you know black scientists that have been either nonexistent or silenced over the years because of like systemic racism in various areas and this kind of stuff. It just like, it explodes my brain with tears to think about.

I cannot handle it. I literally wept through this entire documentary. And then you get into, like, they, they, they have a mix of like pop acts and gospel acts throughout the whole thing, right? Yeah. The Edwin Hawkins singers The Mahalia Jackson. The moment with Mahalia Jackson and Mava Staples singing Precious Lord, take my hand.

Good Lord. So I hadn't seen it before. We interviewed Lester. [00:38:00] I watched it afterwards. Mm-hmm. . And, and Rob's like, dude, he's like, this seed is like, what in the world? And I was like, you know, okay. And then you see it as like, good, here's just streaming down my face, dude. Because it, it's so it's so telling.

Yeah. You know what I mean? And there's, there are things that they say and there's this discussion throughout the thing of, of Of in, in like African spiritual music being a way to express pain through dance and through, you know, this vocal expression and stuff like that. And you, you hear it coming out.

You know what I mean? And thinking about it in that context. Yeah. You know it's like the old quote , it's funny because you think we're talking about like soul music and stuff like that. I'm about to quote Mr. Rogers, but like the old quote from Mr. Rogers about, you know, what was it? He, he said, I. I needed, I learned to cry with my fingers.

My fingers. Yeah. You know what I mean? Playing piano, it's like that, right? Mm-hmm. Coming out, coming out in this music and, and then it, and don't sleep on Fred Rogers. That guy's got [00:39:00] chops. Dude. Seriously, let's just talk about Fred Rogers for a minute. Absolutely. Stevie's got chops. Fred Rogers has chops.

That's right. That's right. And then it closes with this really powerful performance by Nina Simone. The documentary closes that way, and it's just, it brings everything in. I mean, it is so, ugh, so good. You guys. You have to go watch it. Chambers Brothers kick things off with Time has come today and, and it just goes on from there.

So yeah, summer of Soul quest Love. Thank you. Like, you know Lester Chambers. Thank you. Lester Chambers. Thank you, quest. Love. When you wanna come on and talk about the Summer of Soul just here, I know you've talked about a lot, but he won a, won a granny I think for for the documentary and. So, yeah, it, or maybe an Oscar for that.

I can't remember one or the other. It should have won whatever. Should have won everything. Alright. We already stumped the genius. We already met the band, so I got just a few more notes here. First of all, if you type in just the song name, time has come today. The first album that comes up on Apple Music is not by the [00:40:00] Chambers Brothers, it's the Ramones.

Oh. In 1983, the Ramones, did they do a version of this song? Of this song? Yeah. The Ramones have a, a cover of this on their album, A Subterranean Jungle that was like a little more commercially produced after Joan Jet broke through with I love Rock and Roll. They got, I believe, her producer to you know, to do their next album.

And don't listen to enough Ramones. I probably should listen to, I think you probably do . I think I've tapped Yeah. With the little that I know . Yeah. Let me play you a little bit of the Ramones version. It's just not, you gotta be a little older than us to be like, dude. Yeah. The freaking Ramone. to fully appreciate what they did anyway.

Yeah. Here's their version of time's Come today.

It's a pretty faithful, like I was about to say, they're not to shine away from their No, they don't. That guitar sounds pretty good. They don't dump all over it. Yeah. You got 1983 guitar sound. It's not the sound, not the sound, but when you think [00:41:00] Ramones, you don't necessarily think that slick of a guitar sound.

But if you think about Joan Jet and the Black Hearts

can't, that's also, I don't think about the Ramones vocally like that. It's closer to a kiss. Jean Simmons vocal to me sounds like they took all those you know, the things you wash your dishes with. Like those littler pads. Yeah. And they just put 'em in the drums. They just like threw 'em all in the drums to hold them.

drum tone is, oh, that's great. Definitely. Maybe it's just cuz I just heard the Chambers Brothers drums that sound so open and so completely different. Tight. Yeah. Yeah. Joan Jet also has a cover and that's actually the second album that comes up. Okay. Is Joan Jet's album. Hers has a neat approach to the breakdown in the middle where you get, you end up with like multiple time signatures running over each other.

It's like the original tick talk, tick talk, just keeps going, never stops [00:42:00] while everything else kind of ebbs and flows and you end up with multiple things happening at once. It's pretty, it's controlled. I don't even know that it's controlled chaos. It's just kind of chaos. It's chaos. But that's kind of neat.

And then there's Steve Earl has a version on his album, sidetracks. Like I said, it's been in tons of movies, including, remember The Titans, the Doors, girl, interrupted Kong, skull Island, and a long list of others. But the most interesting use might be the 1978 Oscar winning film coming home, starring Bruce De and Jane Foster.

Jane Foster. Jane Fonda. Jane Fonda. Okay. How did I get Foster? I was trying to go Foster Foster, like from from four no Jane Fonda during the climactic scene in which the lead character, a Vietnam veteran comes home, hence the name to confront his cheating wife. The entire 11 minute track plays during this intense sequence.

Holy cow. The whole 11 minutes of time has come today. Plays in the film. Is there like talking over it? I think there's some [00:43:00] arguing. I haven't seen the film, but I assume there's some arguing, probably some violence and, and then I think there's a scene of him not to spoil the movie before anybody who's going out to rent it right now, but like then I, my understanding is that the, after that scene, while the song is still going, he walks out into the ocean and does himself in.

Okay. Wow. So it's like a whole thing. It's like a, it's by the time you get to the end of it, you're like, what The freak just happened. Hope his name's not Tom Tom. That's the people yelling at him on the should. Tom Tom. Not to make light of suicide. God help us. One yeah. Okay. A little bit on the writing of the song.

This is from song It says, the Chambers Brothers were from Mississippi and started out as a gospel act. They wrote the song after relocating to Los Angeles, where they rented a two story house in a song facts interview with Willie Chambers. He explained, I was down in the dining room area with an acoustic guitar, and I was playing that music over and over and over.

I got kind of hooked on that line in the melody, but I didn't have any [00:44:00] words. And Joe, at that same time, he was upstairs in his room writing the lyrics to Time has come today. He could hear what I was doing down there, and it interrupted his writing. He came to the top of the stairs and said, was that your playing?

I said, I don't know. This riff just came to me and I'm just, I'm just playing it. He said, you got lyrics to that? No, I don't have lyrics yet, man. I was just up here in my room writing and everything. I'm writing the music is going with what I'm writing at the same time I'm writing it and you're down here playing it.

Well bring your guitar down. So we had a basement in the house and we had a rehearsal studio down there. So he and I went down to the basement and he started singing these lyrics. And man, the music and the lyrics were just made for each other. That's cool. And just, that's great, you know? . It's so funny how stuff like that happens sometimes.

They weren't trying to write this song, you know, but it, two independent ideas end up. That's awesome. I love that. Yeah. Like you said, the Apollo 11 Moon landing literally happened during, during the set you know, Stevie set and he's 19 in the . Is he? He's 19 in that. He's at the time. Holy cow. It was pre his like trilogy of albums that like, that cemented him as a legendary artist forever.

He's just a little bit [00:45:00] beyond little Stevie Wonder. Yeah. So he's 19. Yeah. But he's not Stevie as you know, him. Like legend Stevie. He's still crushing it. He's kill, but he's not. Yeah, he's not, he doesn't have the years of experience yet. It's everything he's done is, is gold. He's like, dude, this hit, this hit new dude.

Stevie wondered. You know what I mean? He's not the legend. Stevie Wonder's good yet. Yeah. But, you know, there was a, a quote that stuck with me in that movie. You know, basically they're like, these people were like, nevermind the moon. They were, they're interviewing people like, you know, what do you know, you know, we just landed on the moon, you know, blah, blah, blah.

And they're like, nevermind the moon. Let's get some of that cash in Harlem. Right. Like that, that doesn't help me. That's right. Yeah. That's good. So anyway, it's a really, I can't say again how, how much you need to go watch the Summer Soul documentary. It will, it will affect you, I promise. It will affect you.

I think that's really kind of what I have. That's good. Let's kick it to Lester. You guys are gonna like him. He's awesome. We're That's right. We're gonna go talk to Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers. But first I need you to do something for me. I need you to [00:46:00] stop what you're doing first. Go put Summer of Soul in your queue.

It's on Hulu. Go put that in your queue. Then while you have your phone out, go to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ingress a follow if Twitter still exists. I don't even know if Twitter, listen, Twitter has been such a mess the last little bit. So who knows? They're saying Twitter might just dial together.

But if it still exists we'll be there at Great Song Podcast and you can give us a follow. And if you really love the show, you wanna be a part of helping us make the show and, and cover our costs and do some more with it. Then you can go to Patreon and give us some support slash Great Song Podcast.

And when you do that, if you support us on any level, we pledge to do everything that we can to help convey our gratitude back to you. You'll get early episodes ad free episodes, bonus shows that you only get there. Our second podcast, which happens every weekend during the season, it's called the Catch Up with Robin J.P.

And it's up to the minute music news and, and stuff. We missed stuff, we got right, stuff we got wrong. It's really become a fun [00:47:00] other thing. Now that we've kind of really focused it on being, you know, we record these episodes, weeks in advance sometimes months in advance and you know, we don't always get to give you the most up to date references and, and stuff like that.

So like there we're talking about literal like music news that's breaking and you know, the latest stuff as only we can deliver it, you know? So I've found a great way, by the way, to introduce our show to people in a quick way, right? So they say, what's your show about? And I say, if you wish Song Exploder was a little more like Smartless than, I don't know, smartless.

Okay. You should check it. It's, it's it's Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Oh my gosh. What's the guy from Will Grace? Okay, Sean Sean from Will Grace. Okay. And they're just, you know, being hilarious and stupid. And the funny thing about it is they each, they have a guest every week and it's a guest that one of them has gotten to come on the show and he doesn't tell the other two who it is.

Oh. The first time they see him, it's like, and it's literally like they've had presidents on there. That's, you know what I mean? And you don't see it until they pop up in the Zoom. That's [00:48:00] cool. Anyway, but it's very off the cuff and it's all just whatever. I like that. So that's what I say about us. Now, if you, if we, if we, if you wish Song Exploder was a little more like Smartless than you have the Great Song Podcast.

All right. We're gonna go hop on with Lester Chambers and Dylan and we'll see you guys on the other end. This is the Great Song Podcast, ladies and gentlemen, as promised we're here with a very special guest, Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers, and Moon, Alice Lester, thank you so much for joining us today.

It really means a lot to have you on the Great Song Podcast. Well, thank you for having me. Excellent. Where are you coming to us from today? At, okay. Right. I don't even know where that is. I don't either. , it's a little north of time Francisco, about 41 miles. Okay, there we go. All right. We're in the, we're in the Nashville area.

So we're at little north of Nashville in a city called Hendersonville, Tennessee. Hey, music country. There we go. That's right. We're in the, the home of, of Johnny Cash and and a few other notables.[00:49:00] Okay. I've been watching him on tv. A great. He's a great friend of ours, the brothers. Oh yeah. That's cool.

Yeah. Well, tell us about that. I'd love, I'd love to know. Well, you're feeling not Johnny. Well, Johnny was doing a tour and we had been in New York area for a minute. Cause we had gone to the Newport Folk Festival and Johnny had asked us to come to. One of his concerts and, and do a guest number or two. And we did.

And he hired us right on the spot for the rest of the tour. That is awesome. That is cool. Which wound up of all places, the grand old opera, Hey, go. That's right there in our backyard. Of course, of course they didn't write about it or talk about it, but it was a great, it was great, great time with the family.

That's [00:50:00] awesome. So what, what time period are we talking there? We're talking 67. Okay. Okay. Maybe 6, 5, 7. That's awesome. Wow. During the time we went for the first Newport Folk Festival. Okay. Okay. We're gonna let you talk about that going on right before Bob Dylan. That's that's, that's pretty, that's pretty intense.

What are your, your recollections of that particular folk festival? I know a lot of, a lot of folks had a fit when Dylan went on with electric guitars and stuff. Do you remember that moment pretty well? Yes, I do. It was, it's, it was very intense, as you said, and by Dylan had come out with a, when his time come, he had come out with a, with an electric guitar, and the audience booed him, literally booed him and said, go get your real guitar.

Huh? He looked at defender guitar and said, This is a real guitar. [00:51:00] Wow. And at which point the inta, almost everybody that was on the show on that stage, we all joined hands and came out and stood behind and in support of his transfer from electric to, from acoustic to electric. That's awesome. Wow.

That's like chill bumps. Man, that's, that's wild. What a moment. And what a show Solidarity, like it was, you know, awful nice of, of you guys to kind of stand with him in that way and, and, you know, behind his choices. Well, when you look around and see people like John Baez and Pete Sega and you know, people like, that's dun by, you know, you're doing something right.

That's good. Yeah. Who are some of the, who are some of the people who have done that for you guys? Who are some of the people that have stood by the Chambers Brothers over time and kind of linked arms with you guys and supported you? I can't think of any. Okay. Yeah, we had it all, we were all on our own most [00:52:00] of the time, and I, I never, we never had a moment where we needed people to come on stage and our support.

Okay. So that was that's the way that happened. Okay. Do you feel like that's a, do you, do you, do you think of that like, as a, almost like a badge of honor? Like, we did everything on our own. Everything we did, we didn't, we didn't need anybody's help or were you like, I wish we could have got some help from some folks.

Sometimes. Well, I can't say we never needed help, but if we did, we didn't, it didn't come at that time. Wow. You. But it, it was, it was just the folks, the folk community is like a family on the road and everybody know that everybody is in good hands. Yeah. That's good. Yeah. Everybody's always in great hands.

So, so you guys got your start kind of singing in the church choir growing up. How did that upbringing help craft your [00:53:00] sound as the Chambers brothers? How do you think that that helped with that? Well, it helped because it was, it meant we got to stay together as brothers that keep singing. And it was just wonderful thing that we had gone through the hills of Mississippi singing through the Yodel Mountains, echo Mountains, they call it.

Mm-hmm. . And we had, we had sang acapella. Most of the, all the time in the Mississippi area cause we had no guitar. And it was, it was a great transition to the guitar. So, so I, I read that you, did you play harmonica on Red China Blues with Miles Davis? How did that happen? Well, miles Davidson and I had become friends or whatever and we hung out a lot.

And every time I came home, if he was home, he would say, Hey, come on up and let's [00:54:00] cook some sos cook that. So that's basically what we did was cook and we did somehow Monica and trumpet together. Little did I know he was. Working, working me up or recording. Yeah, for him. But I was writing a song called Red, not Red China Blues.

It was just a blue songs that I was writing. And they went on break. During the session, all of the musicians went on break and I stayed in the studio cause I didn't wanna go with them. And I was in there practicing, just playing some doodles I was doing and I was writing. He came back in and booth and I didn't know he was there and he was saying, I really liked this record that

So they recorded me. [00:55:00] Actually, it took what I had recorded during the time I was sitting in the studio by myself and put it on the song, on the tape that he called Red China Blues. Okay, well, you're definitely featured right out the first note. It's it's harmonica heavy, that's for sure. Well, that's about all I got out.

It was being fud on the record,

And, and when it time to get paid, he had named me Wally. Okay. And I looked who's chambers? There's no W Chambers here. He know. Called me a fool and said, don't you know, w don't have a driver's license. Wally don't have, don't have a social security card. Wallet. Don't get paid. And I, I've tried on several different occasions to correct that, but to know [00:56:00] eval, it's always been you've waited too long or, you know, it's, it's no good.

You waited too long, man, man. Well, how about there you go. I got to be Wally on Miles album. There you go. That's, that's, thank you Miles . God bless you. Miles. Right. So how did you get to become friends with Jimi Hendrix? I heard you got to spend some time at Electric Lady Land. Is that true? Well, Jimi had been playing around the village area and we were playing uptown.

There was a whole different kind of thing going on for the people that got to play uptown and the people that got to play downtown and the, in the smaller clubs. So we were playing at the Cheetah Clubs. Which was a huge club in, in Manhattan. And Hendricks came in and liked Willie and [00:57:00] because he was the guitar player for the band, and they sort of had words, you know, like encouraging each other.

And Jimi says, I'd like to go on stage and jam with you. Do, do you have another guitar? And Willis says, no, this is the only guitar I got, but you're welcome to play it. Hendricks came on stage, Willie gave him the guitar, and Hendricks hit it for a couple of licks and says, man, I can't play this thing. You got logs on here,

The strings. The strings were so thick. You know, like he played those slinky strings where he. Now. So he couldn't, he says, I, I can't wait. This, it's too heavy. It's too, the strings are too heavy. . But we had been friends for just, you know, hanging out and saying hello here and there. And then Electric Ladyland was built and I had steady been hanging [00:58:00] out, which was a good thing because he invited me to come every night I could.

So I went down and hung out with Desmond. Somewhere in there, there's a couple of songs with me playing Harmonica with him. Oh, that's cool. There's also a couple of songs where I sang with, and there's one song where I actually played the bass. Oh, that's cool. I What song is that? They didn't have names.

They were just jams. Just James. I just jams. That's cool. Jams. Yeah. And I did the I'm on the song. I woke up this morning and found myself dead. Something like that. Yeah, something like that. Okay. I don't know how Monica play that. I didn't get credit for again, man. Come on. We gotta get less some credit.

We'll get you your kudos as much as we can with us . Right? I think they gave that to my buddy Jim Morrison. Oh really? Oh, okay. It's [00:59:00] another good friend name drop there. another good friend. Hey man, let me get that. Let me get that. You know, , we've been watching some videos of you with Moon Alice recently.

And man, I gotta say the vocals are still sounding strong. How you, what are you, what are you doing to keep the voice up? I go to God. Okay. That is the answer to everything there is about me, from me to you. I have been the sickest man throughout my life. The whole time of my life. I've had bad, bad health and prayer and just constantly asking God to bless me.

It's, that's the answer. That was the right answer. Yeah, that's, that is it man. He's We're with you. Yeah. We're we are with you with that. That's all. He's been with me. Cause I was born with cancer of the blood. Really? And [01:00:00] now I'm cancer free. That's awesome. Wow. Yes. And I had two other bouts with different kinds of cancer.

During the time I still had cancer of the but I'm healthy now and God still with me and. What he has done to bless me, to keep my voices secret to him. . That's good. That's good. I like that. I like that. Were you so the drummer that plays in Moonalice is a guy named John Molo. Well, me and Rob, yes.

Are both big Bruce Hornsby fans and John Molo. John Molo was the drummer for Bruce Horns being the range for a long time. So we, we are Big John Molo fans. How did you, and how did you get him and how did y'all, how did that whole project of moons come together? How did that sync up happen? Well, moons was a band that had been a band, been a band for the last 15 years or so here in the Bay Area.

And Roger, one day I [01:01:00] sitting there and the phone rang and I answered the phone and he says, hello Lester, it's Roger, Roger Mcny. I says, hello. He goes, yeah. And he started to explain to me who he was and what he was doing. And I said, wow, yes, I'll do it. And he, when he invited me to come and do the Sonal Solstice Festival Hmm.

And from there he just kept inviting me. And pretty soon here I am with the band. I'm the, you know, I just thank God again, . And, and we know your son Dylan's in the room. So what's it like getting to hang out with Dylan and do music with Dylan? Dylan, you're welcome to jump in and say, Hey, you all, what's happening everybody?

How you doing? Hey Dylan. Great to be here with y'all. It's good to hear from me. Rock roll. Yeah, man. Rock and roll with my dad is one of the greatest joys that anybody [01:02:00] could have, you know? And he's 82 and I'm 37. And these are precious memories that we get to have. That's cool. Playing fantastic shows with a bunch of amazing musicians.

That's great. Yeah. Totally amazing. What a blessing that is. Right. I wanna get some thoughts from you on the, on the summer of Soul Film. Have you, I assume you've, I assume you've watched it, but I am I right in that several, several times. Okay. Summer of Soul, so I had not gotten to see it until we were kind of gearing up to talk to you.

I hadn't got a chance to watch it until then. Okay. But I, you know, I watched the whole thing and, and I was telling J.P, I just kind of cried through the whole thing, like it was this, this weird combination of. You know, beauty and amazing music and and like, you know, it was almost, you talked about having all these people linked up on stage together in support.

It was like having 50,000 people out in the park in Harlem, you know, showing that same [01:03:00] kind of support for each other in a time that was obviously Right. Still stressful in the black community for, for a lot of reasons. And so like, it just, the, the movie itself just kind of broke me apart while I watched it.

Like, it was, it's incredible. It's incredible. Beautiful and heartbreaking and, and all those things at the same time. And at the same time, a celebration of this amazing music that's coming out, you know, of the community. As you watched it back and it kind of experienced that for the first time in, in 15 years.

Right. What were your thoughts on, on the Summer of Soul documentary? Well, I take my hat off to Quest Love. Yeah. Doing such a wonderful job, and I'm glad he was. Looking for something to do and found us.

The whole, the whole Harlem Festival, which is where it stemmed from, was such a wonderful time in my life, in our life.[01:04:00] And I think there was more than 50,000 people. I'm, I'm told there were people from the beginning of the park to the end, I believe it, and sides to the, if you saw of the, there were no was space whatsoever.

Tony Lawrence, our buddy, was such a great, great organizer, and he had come to us and asked if we would help him with this with the Harlem Cultural Festival, and I, we said yes. And it was the one of a first, and it was videoed and videos were made of it, which meant that we had sponsored the first ever videoing of a concert in the park.

Wow. But as you see, and as you know, [01:05:00] we weren't supposed to be the ones to do that. Yeah. Meaning the crew that we had Yeah. And the artist that we had gathered, Tony and my, our manager at the time, it was just such a great spiritual day of great, great artists, great entertainment, and for the whole day, there was not one instant of violence.

Everybody was happy, everybody enjoyed themselves and so did we. And Betty Mayberry had just wrote this song, uptown to Harlem, which we had recorded on the first Chambers Brothers album, which made the great introductory sound for the Summer of Soul. It was perfect, the very first thing right out perfect.[01:06:00]

And thank God we were there at the beginning, at the ending of the, of the summer of Soul. Man, it was just, there's this, you know, thing running throughout the whole thing of kind of even the, the spiritual expression of all these feelings just coming out through all these performance BB King and, you know, everybody up there just getting all these things out through the expression of music and, and dance and all, you know, all these things.

It's just, it's just gorgeous. And it, and for it to have been held away from the world for 50 years is just a shame. You know, it's just a shame. I'm really glad Quest took it and did what he did with it, because it's, it's gorgeous. And, and I'm not sure it would've come out the same way if it had been released then, but it's a shame that it's been tucked away for a half century.

Well, it, it was a shame that it had been tucked away, but it, it still had some great moments because of Quest. Love made sure that Harlem [01:07:00] Cultural Festival got acknowledged. Yes. It happened before Woodstock or any other major festival or concert in any park. Yeah. They didn't want us to have credit for that.

Yeah. And when I say they, you have to know who I'm talking about. Sure. You can imagine. I can. Yes. I can imagine somebody messed around and got a hands on that tape that just shouldn't have been kept. It from the public and from the audience that was waiting to see what happened because they were waiting because it was the first time, like I said, that a film, a concert was ever being totally.

Totally filmed, which would've meant we would have, Santa Chambers. Brothers would have something to do with owning the right to videoing in the park and festivals of that kind. But they didn't, [01:08:00] as I said before, they didn't want that to be. And it wound up not to be. But thank you Quest love. Thank you for your, your took it to them back.

So there are parts of these where we just like to gush on things that we love about the artist. So all strung out over you is a banger. We love that song. I can't turn your, the Otis Redding cover. Not sure if Otis was on your radar before then or why you picked that, but we love that. Right April 7th is Lester Chambers Day in the city of Berkeley.

So if you make sure you celebrate that 2011 West Coast Blues Hall of Fame. So we have a legend with us today. Yeah, this has been great. Thank you very much and be sure you check Moon Alice out. Absolutely. We have recorded and rerecorded some of the greater hits by Chambers Brothers and, and [01:09:00] Alan Tucson and different people we have right now.

We have what's our current single or Yes, we can, yes, we can can by Allen 2 cents. That is phenomenal . We will check it and we will make sure everyone does. The one last question we have for you. You're on tour or you're either traveling around with Moon Alice or you're doing some good solo stuff and you go into a gas station.

What is your gas station snack? Food of choice? I get a Three Musketeers candy bar. What is, what do you get from a gas station for snack food? We ask artists this. I don't. I don't Banana. A banana. A banana. There you go. It's a good choice. Yes. Healthy. I, yeah. Healthy. I'm, I'm at my age. Are you kidding?

Smart choice. Me and Rob should eat more fruit, be healthy. Rob did eat a banana a few minutes ago, so was his last snack. So you're speaking of like gotta get that potassium. [01:10:00] So you guys look out for our new album, our new what is CD is on the market right now. Excellent. We'll be looking for it. Thank you again for your time.

Thanks Dylan for hanging out with us too. We appreciate it. Hey, thank you guys too. It's been great. We talk soon. Volume two, moon two. There we go. There you go. You guys did it on Lester. Thank you so much. That's been a real honor. Talk to you guys are real, happy and enjoyable. Thank you. Bless you, man. We'll talk to you soon.

See you. All right. Bye-bye. Be well. You too. This is the Great Song Podcast. And that was Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers and Moon Alice. It's an honor to get to talk to these guys who have been doing this for so long and who have been through so much. Yeah, right. We've got it easy. We have not had to deal with anything ever in our whole lives.

We've not had to deal with anything. But Lester Chambers is a guy who has been through it [01:11:00] and lived to tell the story. You guys go out there and find you some good 80 year olds to talk about the past. Seriously. It's awesome. Yeah. And we get to do it musically. That's right. We get to talk to music musically, 80 year olds.

I don't even know what that means. All right. Thank you guys so much for listening. Thanks to Lester Dylan for hopping in with us. Thank you to God for letting us do this. Yes. And you know, I was trying to think of just like, I don't wanna follow up God with Quest love, but we God at the end, but thank you to Quest, love for making the summer of Soul.

That's rights. Awesome. Yeah. It's been, it's been a real eyeopening thing for, for me, and I for you too. So yeah, go check out the Summer of Soul. Go get the Chambers brothers. Go get some, go see Moon Alice. Go see Moon Alice. Go download. It's four 20 somewhere. And if that's your thing, and we'll see you guys next week as season 10.

Kind of. It's coming to a close, man. Man, it's almost stretch. It's been amazing. So we'll see you guys next week with another great song. Until then, I'm Rob. I'm J.P. Go listen to some music. Oh,