1. You Give Me Love
2. Bring It On Home To Me
3. Clean Up Man
4. Five Long Years
5. I've Got Dreams To Remember
6. Hot Nights
7. Johnny's Jungle
8. Evil Woman
9. Rent Me
10. Fried Neck Bones And Some Home Fries
Lester Chambers doesn't just play and sing his distinctive blend of rock and R&B infused gospel soul, he lives it. On his self titled debut for independent powerhouse label Explosive Records, Lester fuses the spirit of rock's early roots with the energy of today in a compelling blend of articulate yet uniquely original and cover material. As a member of the Chambers Brothers (whose landmark hit, "Time Has Come Today" became an integral part of the soundtrack of the '60s), he helped create the psychedelic soul genre that spawned Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone. But it is as a contemporary artist that Lester is making his greatest contribution to the legacy of popular music.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Lester grew up on a steady diet of rural blues and the new hybrid of gospel and rock n' roll called rhythm and blues. When he and his three brothers moved to Los Angeles with their family in the late '50s, Lester became exposed to the urban R&B phenomenon which dominated local radio at the time. Not surprisingly, the Chambers Brothers' residency at the famed Ash Grove club, was in large part informed by Lester's uncanny ability to marry the defining elements of these companion genres. Observed then up and coming blues/folk icon Taj Mahal, "The Chambers Brothers weren't just a great band, they were an event!" Music critics at the time unanimously agreed that this was in large part due to the singularly striking presence of Lester Chambers.
As pop taste has evolved over the years, the classics of yesteryear have assumed a nearly mythological importance in the overall scheme of things. Lester's selection of material for this recording pays tribute both to this self evident truth and the contention that original songs will always be the lifeblood of any musical style. Teaming with Explosive Records' founder and noted producer/musician Pride Hutchison (Phil Seymour, Steve Pryor), Lester has redefined the classic grooves of such staples as Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years", Sam Cooke's timeless "Bring It On Home To Me" and Otis Redding's signature "I've Got Dreams To Remember" (on which his brothers have contributed their unique vocal harmonies).
But Lester lives at the threshold of a new millennium, so his nod to these timeless gems is appropriately counterbalanced with stirring contributions from he and his bandmates. In a heartfelt tribute to soul progenitors like Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, Lester's own "You Give Me Love" (the other Chambers Brothers vocal reunion) provides an insightful look at his understated songwriting prowess. Similarly, his self penned "Evil Woman" and his collaboration with guitarist Johnny Turner (Chuck Berry, Albert King, Dr. John) on "Hot Nights" underscore his unique ability to both identify and add to the luster of straight blues and pure soul. Lester proves that democracy can indeed work in a band context by including bassist John Heard's (Big Joe Turner, Oscar Peterson) jazz inflected instrumental "Johnny's Jungle" and saxophonist Bill "Stumuk" Nugent's (Frank Zappa, King Cotton) quirky strut, "Rent Me" on this collection. Rounding out the album are Willie Bobo's humorously funky "Fried Neckbones And Some Home Fries" and a peerless version of the Betty Wright hit, called "Clean Up Man" here.
In large measure this Lester Chambers effort owes its distinctive sound to the amalgamation of musical talent he has assembled both to make this record and help launch his major world tour set to kick off in the Spring of 1999. In addition to the aforementioned musicians LESTER CHAMBERS features the unmistakable presence of percussionist Sergio Pastora (Eric Clapton, James Taylor, JJ Cale), keyboardist Joel Scott (Quincy Jones), and drummer Wilby Fletcher (McCoy Tyner, Ahmad Jamal, Harry Belafonte).
If it's true that timing is as important to good fortune as talent, then Lester Chambers and his remarkable band are about to embark on a meaningful journey that will have significant import not only for them, but for music lovers everywhere.
-- David Budge
"From the perspective of sheer impact Lester Chambers' self titled Explosive Records' debut CD is about as good as it gets. Not content to simply rehash his glorious 60's past, Chambers has crafted a remarkably diverse effort that embraces his roots as well as offer some surprises. Two Chambers' originals, "You Give Me Love" and "Evil Woman" stand out brilliantly amid a colorful field of soulful contenders, making this record not so much a comeback as a reminder that good music never goes out of fashion. - THE PORTLAND OBSERVER
"Chambers' new effort sparkles with authenticity and makes a poignant case for a return to genuine heartfelt music." - THE KANSAS CITY GLOBE
"One listen to LESTER CHAMBERS the latest release from Explosive Records tells you that its creator is a man who has been around the musical block. The whole disc shimmers with an aura of experince and savvy, from the knowing reggae reworking of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home" to the original "You Give Me Love" a bluesy evocation of the world's great soul singers. - TULSA WORLD