The Group It is a Changin'
Continuing with our Chad Mitchell Trio Fest, I've mentioned that the group has had interesting incarnations. And without question, the most notable of those is when Chad Mitchell left the Chad Mitchell Trio. He went off to pursue a solo career, which didn't pan out all that well. But what makes this change in the group even more interesting is not only his leaving from his own group, but who replaced him. That would be a young, unknown singer named John Denver. They made a good choice.
The challenge was what to call themselves. With Chad Mitchell departing, it was obviously inappropriate to stick with the same name. What they decided on was to go by simply The Mitchell Trio.
And so today, we have a video of The Mitchell Trio with John Denver appearing on the Merv Griffin Show in 1966. As Merv points out, the group didn't make many appearances on TV, so this is a rarity. (He also notes that they've been banned on a few station, which I can imagine, especially when one hears this song below, to go along with the song I posted yesterday, "The John Birch Society"...) I'm not quite sure why they didn't appear on television all that much. The best I can think of is that more than most other groups, as clean-cut as they came across, when they sang satirical political songs they were extremely pointed -- witness "The John Birch Society." Though in fairness, as blunt as that song was, it wasn't going after sacred cows in American society but what was considered a nut-job right wing group considered far out of the mainstream even by conservatives. And it wasn't like all or even most of their songs were political or satirical. For the most part they were just a standard folk singing trio -- and one that had successful record sales and a long nightclub career. So...I don't know.
What makes this video all the more whimsical therefore is that with it being one of their rare TV appearances, they chose to sing yet another comic political song -- and one that is even more pointed in its ridicule than "The John Birch Society," and about a group that, while not remotely in the mainstream, had a much wider reach, even through to today. Notably so. This is "Your Friendly Liberal Neighborhood Ku Klux Klan."
What also stands out here is that, while not nearly as funny a song as "The John BIrch Society," it's still pretty amusing yet there is a very noticeable absence of laughter. That could be because of the way the audience was miked, but more probably it was because the audience wasn't a typical one for the group. It's extremely scathing, though well-deserving of the harsh ridicule. But, maybe it is the miking because the harshest joke in the song actually gets a big, very audible laugh, and they get nice applause when done.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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