Lester Chambers

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Lester Chambers
Born (1940-04-13) April 13, 1940 (age 82)
Mississippi, United States
GenresRock, gospel music, soul music, psychedelic rock, blues
Instrument(s)Vocals, harmonica, percussion
Years active1961–present
LabelsColumbia, Explosive Records
WebsiteLester-Chambers.com

Lester Chambers (born April 13, 1940, Mississippi, United States) is an American recording artist, and member and lead singer of the 1960s soul rock group The Chambers Brothers,[1] who had the hit single, "Time Has Come Today".

Career[edit]

As a member of the Chambers Brothers, he sang lead on the Chambers Brothers songs "All Strung Out Over You," "People Get Ready," "Uptown," "I Can't Turn You Loose," and "Funky."

As a solo artist he released singles and albums and teamed up with ex-Electric Flag bassist Harvey Brooks to form the Lester Chambers Harvey Brooks Band.[2] He also added vocals to Bonnie Raitt's Sweet Forgiveness album.

In March 2011, Lester Chambers was inducted into the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.[3]

Presently Lester performs with his son Dylan as The New Chambers Brothers as part of the band Moonalice which is led by Roger McNamee.[4]

Personal life and hardship[edit]

Chambers has reported that despite the group's success, he did not receive any royalty payments from 1967 to 1994. In a chat session on the Soul Patrol website, he discussed such injustices that many black artists have endured.[5]

In 2002 his wife, Lola Chambers, testified before the California Senate hearings on Label Accounting Practices that "Time Has Come Today" earned the group under $250 in royalties for the European market over 16 years.[6] She said that Columbia Records told them that "there were no overseas sales to report because The Chambers Brothers records were never licensed to an overseas distributor". But she later discovered copies on eBay of numerous foreign pressings of their records on Columbia foreign affiliate labels for which they were not compensated.[7]

In 2003, the home of Lola and Lester Chambers was broken into and their record collection, consisting of over sixty Chambers Brothers albums and over one hundred singles, was stolen. Lola Chambers had spent twenty five years collecting Chambers Brothers records at various venues to leave these for their sons.[8] Lester Chambers developed a number of medical problems that went untreated because he lacked insurance. He later became homeless, sleeping in a rehearsal hall in Novato, California, until Yoko Ono paid to rent a home for him and his son Dylan.[9]

In March 2012 Lester started an Internet campaign that went viral[10] to publicize what he claims to be a lack of equitable royalty payments.[11] His Facebook posting received over 2,500 "likes" and over 2,000 "shares" in the first 15 hours on his "Wall";[12] it was featured on the front page of Reddit[13] and there were hundreds of tweets about the story.

On July 13, 2013 Lester Chambers was assaulted onstage during a performance at the Russell City Hayward Blues Festival after dedicating a performance of "People Get Ready" to Trayvon Martin, the day the jury found his killer not guilty of a criminal offense. He was reported by his son Dylan to be in "ok" condition later the same evening.[14]

Chambers is a resident of Petaluma, California.[15]

Kickstarter project[edit]

On December 10, 2012, Lester Chambers and Alexis Ohanian (Reddit co-founder) teamed up to launch a Kickstarter project together with the intent to make a new album titled Lester's Time Has Come. Lester also spoke with Reddit users on December 13, 2012, at an AMA (Ask Me Anything) event and to mention the Kickstarter project to those interested.[16]

Summer of Soul[edit]

In 2021 Lester Chambers and the Chambers Brothers were included in the Questlove Summer of Soul documentary.[17]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Ain't Nice To Know"/"Let Your Body Sway" - Masterpiece 1001 - 1984

Albums[edit]

  • Do You Believe in Rock and Roll - Explosive Records - 2008[18]
  • It's Time - Explosive Records - 2005[19]
  • Lesters Besters Vol.1 - 2004
  • Lester Chambers - 1999

Lester Chambers & KK Martin

  • Blues For Sale - Ranell - 2001

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Various Artists: Blues Today Volume III - BT Productions - 2002[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lester Chambers & the Mud Stompers". Lester-chambers.com. Archived from the original on 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  2. ^ [1] Archived August 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Blues Singer Lester Chambers: Reality of Music Industry for the 99%". American Blues Scene. 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  4. ^ "Time Has Come Today for Lester Chambers and Moonalice". Relix Media. 2022-06-03. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  5. ^ "Lester Chambers (Chambers Brothers) chat session, audio interview and new music". Soul-patrol.com. 2001-05-18. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  6. ^ Evans, Bill (September 25, 2002). "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance". DMusic.com. Archived from the original on 14 September 2005. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Moses Avalon - Industry Hearings at OnlineRock". Onlinerock.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  8. ^ "features : central scrutinizer [08.04.2003]". earpollution. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  9. ^ Joel Selvin (2010-06-22). "Time comes back around for Lester Chambers". San Francisco Chronicle.
  10. ^ Shapiro, David (March 5, 2012). "Who Is the Neglected Rocker Behind That Viral Photo?". Fuse TV. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Help Legendary Musician Lester Chambers Get His Royalties". BlackManWithBlog. March 4, 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Lester Chambers - Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  13. ^ "I am the 99%. Screwed by the industry". Reddit. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  14. ^ Marshall, Matt. "Lester Chambers Assaulted on Stage at Blues Festival Over Zimmerman Trial". American Blues Scene Magazine. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Legendary musician attacked after dedicating song to Trayvon..." Ktvu.com. 2013-07-14. Archived from the original on 2014-07-12. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  16. ^ "On Web, 'Time Has Come' for '60s singer". CNN. 26 December 2012.
  17. ^ npr, July 5, 2021 - Questlove Unearths The Long-Forgotten 'Summer Of Soul'[2]
  18. ^ "Lester Chambers | Do You Believe in Rock and Roll | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  19. ^ Kevin Michaels. "Lester Chambers | It's Time | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  20. ^ "The Music of Pete Thelen CD Review". Mnblues.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.

External links[edit]