Blues-rock guitarist and vocalist Danny Kalb has died at age 80. A founding member of the pioneering Blues Project, he performed on its Live at the Café au Go Go LP, which came out in March 1966, and on Projections, the group’s only studio album, which appeared about eight months later. Kalb left the Blues Project after those records, suffered a bad acid trip, and was subsequently inactive for a couple of years.
I tracked him down in 1969, however, and convinced him to perform solo at an anti–Vietnam War protest that I was helping to organize. Kalb readily agreed, so long as he was provided with transportation from his New York apartment to the event on eastern Long Island. My friend Tim and I drove to his modest home, where I recall seeing awards and other memorabilia piled in cardboard boxes on the floor. Clearly, his glory days were behind him, but he cheerfully accompanied us out to Suffolk County Community College and played an excellent blues set at the October 15 event.
I was happy to read in later years about his involvement in short-lived Blues Project reunions and assorted other music-related work. In Kalb’s New York Times obituary, record producer Lenny Kaye called him “one of my first guitar heroes.” One of my first as well.