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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
ray bucknell Performance question, Trios / Almanac Singers (6) RE: Performance question, Trios / Almanacs 23 Nov 03

Hi again, Don,

    No question about it; the CMT were some of the most proficient singers of not only the folk revival but any genre. Both Chad Mitchell and Mike Kobluk had sung in various high school groups and glee clubs (including the Gonzaga University Glee Club where they met) before forming the CMT, but I believe that Joe Frazier was the only one with a "trained" voice. After Joe joined the group (edging out Tom Paxton, whose voice might not have blended well but whose career certainly lasted longer) the Trio really began to carve out a niche for themselves, with songs like "Lizzie Borden" and "Super Skier" paving the way for the politically irreverent material that would shortly follow.   Yes, Milt Okun had a lot to do with their material, but he knew he was working with three guys who happened to have amazing (to use today's vernacular) vocal and harmony skills.

    Indeed, the CMT were so polished that they garnered quite a bit of criticism from all directions. Purists didn't like them because their sound was too clean and "slick." Many folkies didn't like them because they chose to appear on the "Hootenanny" program despite the boycott brought about by Pete Seeger's blacklisting. Still others just plain didn't like their politics. The Kingston Trio avoided most of that type of controversy by intentionally not venturing into the political arena. For some unexplained reason, Peter, Paul and Mary (another of Okun's groups) were able to be political without garnering such overt hostility. Perhaps it's because they took a "softer" approach to their political statements.

    FYI, the CMT (yes, Chad, Joe and Mike are all alive and well) recently went into a studio in Spokane to re-record two of their songs for a CD to benefit children's charities in the Pacific Northwest. It's my understanding that they recorded new versions of both "The Marvelous Toy" and the traditional "Virgin Mary." I haven't heard the results yet, but I'm looking forward to getting my hands on that CD.

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