Posted by: suek2001 | March 31, 2014

A voice to sing and move the world…Joe Frazier..

I’ve been listening to a playlist of the more spiritual John Denver songs today. I am amazed after all these year these songs still move me.

Everyone one of us has influences..whether we think about it or not, we do…

Musical..personal..spiritual…John Denver had influences…and John Denver influenced many people..I am one of them…

I was thinking about that this weekend as I learned of the passing of Joe Frazier…..Joe was a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio…a folk group from the 60’s. Now, long time readers know I am in love with the Kingston Trio, so all other folk music from that time frame is secondary to me. The Chad Mitchell Trio were never really on my musical radar. If I listened to them at all, it was only so I could have a conversation with other folkies whose tastes were broader. I liked a few of their songs…but am more familliar with the Mitchell Trio era(aka–The John Denver era). Chad Mitchell left the Trio to pursue a solo career. John Denver stepped in to fill the void.

According to John’s autobiography, the audition wasn’t a smooth one. John was nervous and tried to sound like Chad. Milt Okun and Joe Frazier happened to be watching..Milt was ready to move on to the next candidate because he wasn’t quite sold on John. So, Milt asked Joe to help John out.

Joe and John worked on John’s voice and Joe helped John…a lot…He helped John learn two tough songs to impress Milt with..He also loosened up and let his soul feel the music. John went back and knocked the audition out of the park. A few days later, John was hired….and the rest is musical history…

With John’s involvement in the Mitchell Trio, He saw the world through fresh eyes…and Joe Frazier got him involved in politics…protests…and with that came a new awareness that his music, his voice could make a difference….

John would go on to a successfull solo career..and keep the friends from his folk group days..and keep the vision the Mitchell Trio..and most importantly, Joe Frazier gave him.

That led to enviromental anthems…peace anthems.. work to end hunger worldwide and a stand against censorship that brought him to Capitol Hill. Throughout all these issues, John truly believed that if we all worked together and tried to be FOR one another. We can do so much. John was so influenced by Joe, he later wrote a song called “Joseph and Joe” about two friends that stayed with him and the lyrics speak of love for both men.




Joe Frazier was a voice for many causes on the Left side of the political spectrum. Many claim, it was his beliefs that gave the Chad Mitchell Trio their political edge and a level of satire that no other folk group at the time could claim.

Here are some of the few that Joe’s voice can be heard on:




..and my personal favorite..


..and here’s one that I have recently fallen in love with lately….



..and one last one..a warning ..if like your music on the PC side, avoid this one..this is my REAL favorite:



Joe would leave the music business and seek a higher calling. He would eventually become a priest with the Episcopalian Church. I deeply admire anyone willing to seek God’s face..and God’s will in their lives….His politics still played a role in his life and his Facebook page was always a source of raucous debate. Some debates, I was involved with and they didn’t end well..for me at least.

Still, I will alway appreciate Joe Frazier’s strong desire for social justice..His caring mentorship of John Denver..and his gift of music to the world. Apathy was his enemy and the world was better for it.

I will close with a couple of lines from the song John Denver wrote for him:

“Joseph can give you the keys to the kingdom,

He’ll put you in touch with the Spirit of Man”

—-John Denver, Joseph and Joe


The keys are now in his hands…and we have his legacy…




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