Danny Kalb, guitarist for the Blues Mission, has died at age 80. He handed away Saturday at a nursing dwelling in Brooklyn.
The information was confirmed by Kalb’s brother Jonathan, who informed The New York Times that his brother had been identified with most cancers about three years in the past.
Born Daniel Ira Kalb in Brooklyn, the guitarist grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and began enjoying when he was 13. He attended the College of Wisconsin and was showing at native coffeehouses when he crossed paths with one other younger musician on his approach to one thing greater, Bob Dylan.
“Dylan crashed with me for a number of weeks in Madison on his manner from Hibbing, Minn., to New York,” Kalb informed AM New York in 2013. “We had a lot enjoyable, I dropped out and adopted him.”
Kalb subsequently met Dave Van Ronk, an influential determine within the Greenwich Village people music scene. The guitarist rapidly grew to become a mainstay of the scene himself, performing and recording with the likes of Dylan, Judy Collins and Phil Ochs.
He contributed two songs, “I am Troubled” and “Whats up Child Blues,” to 1964’s The Blues Mission: A Compendium of the Very Greatest on the City Blues Scene, which featured musicians from round Greenwich Village who performed conventional acoustic blues music. Kalb determined to give attention to electrical blues after seeing a efficiency by John Lee Hooker round that point.
Hearken to Danny Kalb’s ‘Whats up Child Blues’
The next yr, Kalb fashioned the Danny Kalb Quartet with rhythm guitarist Artie Traum, bassist Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenfeld. Traum was quickly changed with guitarist Steve Katz. Singer Tommy Flanders then joined and the group modified its title to the Blues Mission, a nod to the Elektra album Kalb had appeared on.
The band then auditioned for Columbia Data, the place producer Tom Wilson employed session musician Al Kooper, who had labored with Wilson on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Columbia didn’t provide them a deal, however Kooper was subsequently invited to hitch the group and Flanders quickly departed. Wilson then moved to MGM, the place he signed the Blues Mission with one of many label’s subsidiaries, Verve/Folkways. Their debut album, Stay on the Cafe Au Go Go, was launched in January 1966, adopted by a tour of the U.S.
The Blues Mission solely studio venture, 1966’s Projections, featured a rendition of Muddy Waters’ “Two Trains Operating,” a music that had lengthy been a part of Kalb’s units. That very same yr, the Blues Mission shared a invoice with Waters. After the present, Kalb approached his hero.
“I needed to discover out, in my deepest half, what he considered our model of this tune that started off within the South a few years in the past, earlier than he recorded it with any electrical band,” Kalb informed UCR in 2016. “And these unusual white folks had been doing this music: What was that about? So proper earlier than Muddy opened the door to go, I went as much as Muddy Waters and I stated to him, ‘Mr. Waters — nicely, what did you suppose?’
“I knew at that time that he knew what I used to be asking him, and he stated to me, ‘You actually received to me,'” Kalb added. “If I had died then, it will have been sufficient.”
Hearken to the Blues Mission’s ‘Two Trains Operating’
Another classic-era Blues Mission album adopted, 1967’s Stay at City Corridor, and the band additionally carried out at 1967’s Monterey Worldwide Pop Competition. By then, nonetheless, Blues Mission had begun to splinter. Kalb launched Crosscurrents with Stefan Grossman in 1968, however did not return to the studio for many years. Deliberate Obsolescence additionally arrived in 1968 underneath the Blues Mission banner, however solely featured Blumenfeld and Kulberg. Varied different lineups then launched a collection of little-heard ’70s-era LPs.
Kalb solo profession resumed with 2003’s All Collectively Now, 2007’s Performed a Little Fiddle, 2008’s I am Gonna Stay the Life I Sing About and 2013’s Transferring in Blue. Kalb additionally memorably reunited with Katz and Blumenfeld in 2012 because the Blues Mission, alongside different musicians.
Although they grew to become well-known for deciphering songs written by others, Kalb felt it did not detract from the Blues Mission’s inventive expertise. “We’re not an imitating-kind of band, although we used different folks’s materials fairly often,” he informed UCR. “However simply since you write your personal songs, until you are an incredible songwriter like Dylan or somebody like that, doesn’t suggest that every one your songs are nice, simply since you wrote them. I consider in that. I consider in writing songs and I encourage it. However we had been an incredible band. That is all I wish to say.”
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