Chad Mitchell

Chad

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Chad was a little-noticed entry into the little-explored mini-genre of folk revival veterans belatedly getting into pop/rock in the late '60s. Chad Mitchell is backed by A-level Los Angeles session players on this LP, including Hal Blaine, Joe Osborne, Larry Knechtel, Al Casey, and Jerry McGee. It's an odd match of Mitchell's crooning folk vocals with covers of then-recent folk-rock-ish songs by Joni Mitchell ("Both Sides Now"), Dino Valente ("Let's Get Together"), and far more obscure titles like Tim Buckley's "Goodbye & Hello," H.P. Lovecraft's "The White Ship," Jim & Jean's "What's That Got to Do with Me," and the Association's "Bus Song." The arrangements, though, are more blandly perfunctory than inspired, despite the ace skills of the players, with any potential spark dampened by the over-rich orchestration. Actually, it isn't as embarrassing as some of the other more blatant commercial failures by folkies vainly trying to update their sound during the same era. It's just dull and limp, and Mitchell's vocals are adequate but stiff and rather faceless. That's a severe problem when you're covering a bunch of contemporary songs that need an individual stamp to distinguish them from the originals, or to be the best covers of the originals. The record falters most on the theatrical three-part "Love Trilogy," by obscure folk-rock balladeer Jake Holmes (how was it possible he was the same guy who wrote and recorded the original version of "Dazed and Confused"?) You gotta wonder, though, if there was even one single other LP of the '60s containing a cover of Tim Buckley's baroque folk-rock epic "Goodbye & Hello" -- and whether Mitchell's version earned enough royalties for the composers to even feed a parking meter.