Welcome to yet another month of Donkey Show (which unofficially started two days ago by the way I breakdown months). This month is a curious month. Since St Patrick’s Day occurs within, as with last year, I loaded up the month with the few remaining Irish albums I did not post last year. Also, since next month is the site’s anniversary, I took a lot of the better albums out of March and put them in April. So let’s see how this month pans out. You don’t like it? Stick around for April. This was $1.00. I got it both for the version of “The Gallows Tree” as well as the song I am posting.
Well, it seems like last months weekend getaway was more than an eon ago but I suppose now is as good a time to start posting some pictures from it. I took these on my I-phone and as I still have figured out how to properly post I-phone pics, prepare yourself both mentally and physically for a few days of upside down pics. I spent an extended weekend up in Phoenix with my parents and my aunt. One of my favorite activities in the Phoenix area is the Museum of Musical Instruments. I was there last trip as well. They had an exhibition on guitar inlays that was pretty interesting.
Also, since I ran out of time last visit, I started at the North American end of the exhibit this time and worked my way the to the other side. Incidentally, my battery on my camera/phone died about the same spot as last visit.
The Chad Mitchell Trio was formed around 1959 by Chad Mitchell, Mike Pugh, and Mike Kobluk, all students and Glee club members from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. After two albums, in 1960, Pugh left to go back to school and was replaced by Joe Frazier (not the Smokin’ one). At this point in their career, they started moving away from traditional folk songs towards more pointed, topical, and controversial tunes such as “The John Birch Society”, “Your Friendly Liberal Neighborhood Klu-Klux-Klan” and my favorite from their later years, the” I am Not a Nazi Polka”.
After 1965, Mitchell left the group to pursue a solo career. At this point the band changed it’s name to the Mitchell Trio and added a young John Denver to its ranks. The trio reshuffled a bit before calling it quits in 1967. Mitchell, Kobluk, and Frazier reformed in 2005 and performed sporadically from thereon out until Frazier past away in his sleep at age 77, After that, Mitchell, Kobluk, and bassist Ron Greenstein played a farewell concert in 2014.
Web Page for the Trio
This album was a 1964 reissue of the group’s 1959 debut. As suggested above, this album features more traditional folk songs as opposed to the more topical ones they would do later in their career. It also features the banjo work of Eric Darling, himself a seminal figure in the world of folk.
I take great offense to the fact that the arranger, Milt Okun gave himself songwriting credits as the majority of these songs come from traditional sources. I realize that both Bob Dylan and Shane MacGowan did the same thing early in their career, but I felt that a lot of the material was too close to the original lyric-wise. “Sally Ann” is pretty much the Scottish “Johnny Lad” (which you can search for on this site on the Robin Hall/ Jimmie McGregor record). “Sweet Mary Jo” is basically “Roll in my Sweet Baby’s Arms”. AT the very least, these should be credited as traditional(Arranged by Okun and co.). This no doubt-ably led me to have a slightly less than positive view of this record.
The song I picked as a sample, and one of the reason’s a bought this record, has the same kind of issue, but I was still real impressed with the number. It is “Paddy”, a traditional folk song of Irish- American origin. I tried to spend five minutes researching this song. From the best I can tell, it was a work song song by Irish rail workers in the US which migrated up to sailors in Newfoundland and found itself back in Ireland where it became a common folk song, “Poor Paddy Works on the Railway”. There are two deviations of this song, one done by Cisco Houston and one done by such acts as the Dubliners and the Pogues. What I like about this version is it marries the two versions into one. Both are posted linked above. As a side note, I totally hated their version of “The Gallow’s Tree”.
What to say about this album? Well, I mean it is a pretty good collection of new interpretation of folk songs and the Trio has a lot of talent but the song writing credits still rub me wrong. So meh, Sorry.