23
Oct
09

Even More Cowbell!

This isn’t really about the cowbell, this is really another installment of “dumb shit record companies do”. In the early 60’s, there was a folk band comprised of a group of brothers. By brothers, I mean siblings. Coincidentally, they were black, so I guess you could go either way on that, you racist. Anyway, they started out as a folk group. Pretty natural, considering they grew up singing in a Baptist church. In the mid 60’s, they shifted to doing electric music like many other folk performers were, dabbling in both R&B and Psychedelia. They got offers to sign with numerous record companies, but accepted an offer from Columbia. In 1966, they wrote a really cool song and wanted to record it. Columbia president Clive Davis refused, saying they didn’t record that kind of music but offered to find a white group to record it for them. Apparently, execs thought they were being “uppity” after hearing the song, as it’s an actual intelligent commentary on the state of things at that point in history. They recorded it anyway, but Columbia still refused to release it. For 2 years, they played it at their live shows and it became the centerpiece of their reportoire. Finally, in 1968 they scored a minor hit and Columbia gave them the green light to re-record the cool song. The single peaked at #11 on Billboard;s pop list, the album at #4. It’s been used extensively in soundtracks for both film and television. The group was The Chambers Brothers and the song is “Time Has Come Today”. I highly recommend picking up the 11:06 album track, but here’s an extremely abbreviated version of it from the Ed Sullivan Show.

And a bonus! An awesome 1983 cover by The Ramones:

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