Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Dale Spalding grew up one of four children in Downey, California. As a teen, Dale set out to learn to play harmonica and guitar. When a friend played a Paul Butterfield record for him, Dale discovered his future career, “I couldn’t believe those sounds were coming from a harmonica.“
Dale's musical passion was shared by his brother Larry, with whom he built an impressive collection of New Orleans R&B, Big Band Swing and British Invasion Band albums. Also treasures were records by Blues giants such as Muddy Waters, BB King, Charlie Musselwhite, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, Taj Mahal and George ‘Harmonica’ Smith. Dale and Larry also heard many of the famed musicians live at L.A. clubs such as the Ashgrove and the Golden Bear. These influences helped create the foundation for Dale's musical path.
In 1969 Dale moved to San Francisco, where he played in clubs and studied harmonica with iconic bluesman Sonny Terry. Sonny Terry also introduced Dale to some of his friends, including Brownie McGee, Willie Dixon, Johnny Shines, Lafeyette Leake, and Big Walter ’Shakey’ Horton, among them.
Forming a duo with New Orleans musician Duke Burrell (Louis Jordan’s pianist), Duke encouraged Dale to sing more, hearing the distinctive quality in his voice and his talent for delivering a lyric. The pair performed as a duo for ten years, during which time “Duke made me learn all these jazz ballads and standards on vocal and harp because he said that’s what the people want to hear."
After Duke’s passing in the early 90’s, Dale returned to L.A., where he and long-time friend and bass player Tom Gargano formed a band that plays “everything from Howlin’ Wolf to Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and Muddy Waters.” The Dale Spalding Band continues to appear regularly in L.A. clubs and features some of L.A.’s finest musicians, including James Gadson (drums), Lon Price (sax) and until his death, Bruce “Funky Mal” Malament (piano).
In 2000, Grammy-winning Latin Conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez heard the Dale Spalding Band - Poncho and Dale becoming fast friends and musical collaborators. Dale toured with Sanchez in the U.S. and Europe on numerous occasions. Sanchez featured the Dale Spalding Band on his Latin Spirits CD, the musical blend creating a whole new, funky Latin sound. Dale’s harmonica can also be heard on the 2003 Sanchez track, MaryAnn, featuring the late, great Ray Charles. MaryAnn continues to receive wide airplay.
In 2005, Dale realized a lifelong dream and relocated to New Orleans, home to some of his greatest musical inspirations. He soon picked up work with roots band The Iguanas, as well as numerous other local greats. The N.O. dream quickly faded when Hurricane Katrina forced another relocation, this time to Austin, Texas, where he still resides and is familiar face on the local scene, performing solo and with modern Texas bluesman Little Elmore Reed's band.
In 2007 Dale's career took another leap when he met blues drummer Fito de la Parra. After playing several gigs together, Fito invited Dale to join his legendary blues-rock band as front man, the band being Canned Heat. Dale's calendar quickly filled up with bookings across the USA, Canada and in Europe.
An in-demand studio and live player, Dale has also recorded and/or performed with Dave Alvin, James Cotton, Marcia Ball, Ruthie Foster, Papa Mali, Otis Rush, Pinetop Perkins and Redd Volkaert.