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Two Single Acts Survive a Marriage   Print

by A.L. McClain
Detroit News
February 6, 1966

In this era of computers serving as matchmakers, it seems unlikely that Chuck and Joni Mitchell would have been paired off as matrimonial partners. But seven months after their marriage, they seemed to have beaten the machines.

Their wedding required more sacrifice than the average couple's. Each was a folk singer. Chuck had played numerous engagements as a single in the Detroit area; Joni filled dates in her native Canada as a soloist.

They decided to combine single acts into one, and the honeymoon took a slight detour. Chuck explained it, "We are both strong-minded people, and we both had our own ways of doing a number. There were some hectic times until we blended our styles."

Joni's disposition also suffered when he took her home to his apartment in the Wayne State University area. They had to climb five flights of stairs, and he was too exhausted to carry her across the threshold. Joni walked in herself. "But I carried her the last flight of stairs," laughed Chuck.

Chuck grew up in the Rochester area. Joni was used to Canadian customs. She had wanted to be an artist and had gone to school to study art. The girl who bears a striking resemblance to Mia Farrow, of TV's "Peyton Place," explained it: "I got interested in a ukulele, and from there I turned to the guitar and folk singing. Thirty-six hours after I met Chuck, he asked me to marry him. But we waited two months."

Now their marriage and careers are on firmer ground. They recently finished an engagement together at the Chess Mate, and hope to get a tryout at the Playboy Club in Detroit. Occasionally, they break up the act for separate engagements. This weekend, Joni backed up blues singer Jesse Fuller at the Chess Mate and Chuck sang at the Alcove on Woodward.

On Feb. 15 they join forces again for a week's stand at the Chess Mate, and on Feb. 22 they appear together at the Living End, a nightclub.

Chuck said, "Joni and I have developed our act. We are not just folk singers now. We do comedy, sing some ragtime and do folk-rock. We're ready for the big clubs now." Joni nodded her approval, as any dutiful wife would do.

 

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