The Chad Mitchell Trio, later known as The Mitchell Trio, were an US vocal group who rose to fame in the early 1960’s. Known for their vocal harmonies, they initially performed traditional folk songs and over the years saw a few line-up changes. One member to join later in 1965, was the young (and then unknown) singer/songwriter John Denver. The group retained the well-known “Mitchell Trio” name, with Denver writing some of the group’s songs.
In the early days when they were trying to get a break, the band were assisted by musical arranger Milton Okun and singer, Harry Belafonte. Okun provided a professional polish to their performing skills, which helped them gain both a key booking at New York City’s Blue Angel club and radio appearances with Arthur Godfrey and television appearances with Pat Boone. Belafonte had them appear as back-up singers with a small featured spotlight in his May 1960 Carnegie Hall concert and signed them to his Belafonte Enterprises management firm.
As they evolved, their sound changed and after a stint of recording mostly conventional folk songs, the trio released a then-daring John Birch Society (Fighting for the right to fight/The right fight for the Right!) which established their ability to perform more controversial material. Their departure from Belafonte Enterprises in 1962, followed by their move to Mercury Records in 1963, gave them more freedom to explore their tougher side and thus came their more political and experimental songs. Key focuses for the band included satirical songs that criticized current events during the time of the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War.
Blues Around My Head is a sleepy serenade, marked by rich vocal layering’s and a gentle guitar melody. I love it for its simplicity and delicate dynamics. This track appears alongside The John Birch Society , on an album entitled The Chad Mitchell Trio At The Bitter End, which was released in 1962. This was one of their earlier LP’s, recorded live, and you can already hear the humour! On the album that followed in 1963, there was a song called Four Strong Winds, which was cited by Johnny Cash as a “stylistic influence”…and he liked it that much that he included it on his Artist’s Choice album of favourites!! (always got to love a random fact!). Enjoy..