Tag Archives: Barbara Dane
Barbara Dane was born in Detroit in 1927, and she was reborn musically in Berkeley about 25 years later. Possessing a big, bold, beautifully expressive voice, she had already earned a reputation as a gifted folk singer and musical activist who had campaigned against racial discrimination with Pete Seeger when she and first husband, folk singer Rolf Cahn, relocated to the Bay Area in the late 1940s.
After serving as the host of a pioneering folk television show broadcast on KGO TV, she was recruited as the founding member of a group conceived as a West Coast version of the hugely popular Weavers. But when Dane bailed on the project at the last minute due to creative and other differences, she was left in something of a quandary, in need of income and seeking a new creative direction.
Living in a brown-shingle house at Dwight and Telegraph (rent $35 a month), she often sat in at the Blind Lemon, the pioneering storefront folk club Cahn launched on San Pablo Avenue (a building most recently inhabited by California Office Machines). It was there that she encountered banjo player Dick Oxtot, a leading figure in the East Bay’s thriving traditional jazz scene, who was impressed by her soulful renditions of country blues and spirituals. … Continue reading »