4 out of 4 stars
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We Never Knew Just What It was... The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio is a non-fiction novel written by Mike Murphey with Mike Kobluk and Chad Mitchell. The account kickstarts with the history of the Chad Mitchell Trio. They reunite to perform before their home crowd in Spokane. Chad Mitchell, Joe Frazier, and Mike Kobluk do perform, watched by Kershner of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
From this point, the account alternates between the present union at Spokane to threads of the trio's past and significant incidents. Initially, Mike Pugh was a member of the trio. Joe Frazier joined later. We learn about their early struggles as they seek to carve a niche for themselves in folk music in the city of New York, guided by Father Reinhard Beaver. As the account progresses, we learn the main issue, which will be the main friction point or clog in the developmental wheel of the group. Frank Fried, who later became the group's business manager, believed that Chad Mitchell was the only one amongst the trio who had a future and potential for greatness as a solo singer independent of the trio. This plants suspicion in the mind of Mike Kobluk, which will not augur well for the future of the group.
Alternating between timelines and significant incidents, We Never Knew Just What It was... The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio has many positive aspects. Firstly, despite the extensive length of this book, I discovered only a single error. This served as proof that the novel was professionally edited. Also, I enjoyed how the account alternated between present and past, as the authors employed the flashback technique to give us a peek into the trio's lives, political inclinations, and the people they encountered. This prevented the account from becoming monotonous and mundane.
The authors made a conscious attempt not to hide the flaws and imperfections of the major characters being discussed in this book. Though Chad possessed many awesome qualities, we saw that he was a sexual neophyte with criminal tendencies at some point in his life. Joe Frazier had to struggle with the realities surrounding his sexual identity. Mike also had to wrestle his suspicions about Chad. All these facts served to showcase the humanity of the main characters in this book.
The only negative thing I have to say about this non-fiction novel is that it was a very long read. Also, at some point, I found myself struggling to come to terms with the setting and time zones as the alternation between past and present became excessive. That notwithstanding, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I was particularly impressed with the quality of editing that went into this work. I also appreciated the honesty of the account. I recommend this work to everyone who has a genuine interest in folk music and is interested in learning about the lives of the Chad Mitchell Trio.
We Never Knew Just What it Was ... the Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio
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