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We Never Knew Just What It Was, by Mike Murphey


For all their differences, Mike Kobluk and Chad Mitchell never disagreed on the quality of their music. The rehearsal process of creative collaboration—finding songs and harmonies—was sacred.


The Chad Mitchell Trio was better than anyone in the emerging 1960s folk scene. But as Mike, Chad, and Joe Frazier raced along a frantic treadmill of rehearsals, recording sessions, nightclubs, and concerts, Mike and Chad began to realize the demand for musical perfection was the only thing they had in common. Their personalities were and remain polar opposites. When Chad left in 1965, neither mourned the parting. John Denver replaced Chad. Two years later, Joe’s demons caught up to him, forcing Mike and John to fire Joe.


When folk reunions became popular, fans and folk historians agreed that The Trio was the one group that would never take the stage again. Their schism was just too great. Mike, Chad, and Joe hadn’t spoken in twenty years. Then came a call. I will if he will. Their mentor and music director, Milt Okun, worried they were making a mistake. They couldn’t possibly be as good as their fans remembered.


They were. Mike and Chad kept their day jobs and their distance. But once again, they shared the music.


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