Tag: Blues

In Memoriam: Danny Kalb (1942 – 2022)

Danny Kalb (September 9, 1942 – November 19, 2022) was an American blues guitarist and vocalist. He was an original member of the 1960s group the Blues Project.

In 1965, Kalb formed the Blues Project with Steve Katz, Andy Kulberg, Roy Blumenfeld and Tommy Flanders. Flanders later left the band and was replaced by Al Kooper. They recorded three albums, played frequently at the Cafe Au Go Go and at Murray the K’s last “submarine race-watching” spectacular at the RKO 58th Street theater in New York, and made several concert tours, disbanding in 1971. In 1965 the Blues Project performed an eleven-minute rendition of Muddy Waters’s “Two Trains Running” in electronic form, with Waters in the audience. When asked what he thought of it, Waters said, “You really got me.” Kalb later said, “If I’d dropped dead at that point on the spot because of what we thought of Muddy Waters, then my life would have been well spent.” Personality clashes, drugs and the 1960s lifestyle took their toll on the band. Katz and Kooper left to form Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Howard L. Solomon (Cafe au Go Go owner and promoter) wrote in a 1999 email to Kalb’s Webmaster, “Danny Kalb … is up there with the best of all blues legends … His work for me at Cafe’ au Go Go was amazing … I’ve worked with the greatest of all time and he is at the top … Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Zappa, all greats, but Danny will emerge in the top 5.”

In 1968 he released Crosscurrents with Stefan Grossman. He was fairly quiet for the next twenty years, but joined Al Kooper for a Blues Project reunion, recorded at the Bottom Line in 1996.

In the 21st century, Kalb has performed solo acoustic gigs, played acoustic and electric music with the Danny Kalb Trio, including Bob Jones on acoustic bass and Mark Ambrosino on drums and occasionally performed with Stefan Grossman and Steve Katz and with his brother Jonathan Kalb. The Danny Kalb Trio recorded I’m Gonna Live the Life I Sing About (Sojourn) in 2008, which received critical acclaim in the blues media. This was followed in 2013 by Kalb’s first double-CD. Moving in Blue, also on the Sojourn label, featuring various sidemen and guest artists. With this album he parlays the full range of his musical interests and creativity. Due to ongoing health issues, Kalb was no longer able to perform.

Kalb continued to play the vintage early 1960s Gibson J-200 with which he began his career. He also used a Mexican-made Martin acoustic-electric and a Greco Les Paul-style electric guitar. His solo projects included Livin’ with the Blues (Legend 1995), All Together Now(self-released 2002), Live in Princeton (self-released 2003), and Live in Brooklyn (self-released 2006). Crosscurrents, the 1968 LP with Stefan Grossman was re-released as CD in 2006 and a new CD, Played a Little Fiddle, was released in 2007 by Kalb, Katz and Grossman.

Kalb died on November 19, 2022, at the age of 80.

Friday 10/21/2022 8pm ET: Feature LP: Albert Cummings – 10 (2022)

Albert Cummings (born Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States) is an American blues musician who has recorded under Blind Pig Records. He has played alongside B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy.

Cummings started playing the five-string banjo at the age of twelve. He started to learn basic chords and progressions, and became a fan of bluegrass music. In his late teens, he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan. While in college, in 1987, he saw Vaughan perform. His first public guitar performance was in 1997 when he played at his friends wedding reception. In Cummings’ late twenties, he formed a band, Swamp Yankee. In 1999, he released an independently produced album, The Long Way. The trio spent two hours in a recording studio to record the nine songs for the album.

After the release, the band went on the Northeast blues circuit. In 1998, he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam. In 1999 the musician competed in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, in Memphis. The following year, he released his debut recording.

He later worked with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. Bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton volunteered to play on and produce Cummings’ solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Wynans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing.

Cummings was signed to Blind Pig Records in 2004 with a multi-album deal. Only Shannon remained as the bassist for Cummings’ next album, True To Yourself in 2004.

In 2006, Cummings recorded a fourth album Working Man, with new band members.

In 2008, Cummings released a live album Feels So Good, recorded at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

In 2011, Cummings released an instructional DVD for the Hal Leonard Corporation entitled, Working Man Blues Guitar. His 2012 album No Regrets debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada and France on the iTunes Blues Charts and at No. 5 on the Billboard blues charts. In a 2012 interview, he called No Regrets his “best album yet”.

In July 2015, Cummings released Someone Like You, a 12-track Blind Pig album produced by David Z.

In February 2020, Cummings released his 11-track Provogue Records debut titled Believe, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Jim Gaines. Recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Cummings notes the influence the location had on the process of creating this project, “If I had recorded those same songs anywhere else, then Believe would have sounded like a completely different album.” Arguably one of the most notable tracks on the album is a cover of the song Hold On by legendary soul duo Sam & Dave.

On April 8, 2022, Cummings released 10, a 13-track Ivy Music Company album produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Chuck Ainlay. Simply described as “the blues rocker’s gone country”, it features discovered depth and complexity within a new style.

10 was released April 8. 2022

  1. Need Somebody
  2. Too Old to Grow Up
  3. Hard Way
  4. Last Call
  5. Beautiful Bride
  6. Sounds Like the Road
  7. Meet the Man
  8. Two Hands
  9. Take Me Away
  10. Alive and Breathing
  11. She’s The One
  12. Got You Covered
  13. Remember

Wednesday 9/28/22 10am ET: Feature Artist / Feature LP: Koko Taylor – The Best of Koko Taylor (2015)

Koko Taylor (born Cora Anna Walton, September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009) was an American singer whose style encompassed Chicago blues, electric blues, rhythm and blues and soul blues. Sometimes called “The Queen of the Blues”, she was known for her rough, powerful vocals.

Taylor’s final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009. She suffered complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19 and died on June 3.

Koko Taylor – The Best of. Released January 14, 2015

  1. Wang Dang Doodle 4:24
  2. Ernestine 5:04
  3. Born Under A Bad Sign 4:56
  4. You Can Have My Husband 2:47
  5. I’m A Woman 4:34
  6. You Ain’t Worth A Good Woman 5:34
  7. I’m Getting ‘Long Alright I Cried Like A Baby 5:14
  8. Bring Me Some Water 5:20
  9. Evil 4:58
  10. I’d Rather Go Blind (Live) 4:42
  11. Gonna Buy Me A Mule 4:34
  12. The Man Next Door 5:13
  13. Better Watch Your Step 4:55
  14. I Got What It Takes 3:43
  15. Can’t Let Go 4:59
  16. That’s Why I’m Crying 4:28
  17. Let The Good Times Roll 3:03