Origin: Harvey, Illinois, USA - Vancouver, British Columbia
Danny Mack was born March 29th in Harvey, IL a south suburb of Chicago. He began taking accordion lessons at the early age of six when his dad returned from serving in the U.S. in the southwest Pacific theater. By the age of 12 Danny was playing and singing in his dads’ band The Merri-Macs’ entertaining at dances, weddings, picnics and clubs throughout the Chicago area and outlying suburbs. With strong Polish roots, he was singing all the Polish folk songs and melodies he learned from his grandparents. Danny quickly taught himself to play drums and trumpet, and by High School he was playing drums with several local bands and accepted a full time job as drummer with The Polka Jacks, playing drums and doing the vocals. The popular South Suburban band was doing regular weekly radio broadcasts on the popular Johnnie Baski Polka Show on WOPA Radio in Oak Park, ILL now WPNA. The band played all the popular Chicago Polka clubs and were regulars at the famous Polka Hot Spot Club Irene owned and operated by John Korosa at 63rd and Fransisco on Chicago’s’ South . When Danny wasn’t doing engagements with the Polka Jacks, you’d find him playing trumpet with long time friend the late Gerry Stanley (Stejkowski), and his popular polka band The Musical Gems, Danny Callahan and The Downbeats and Jerry Pietranczyks Polka Sharps from Calumet City, IL. By 1960 Danny and his younger brother Alan an accomplished drummer teamed up and formed The Mack Duo playing the polka clubs and entertaining at Chicago land’s popular dining establishments and country clubs, with music for dining and dancing. In 1961 Danny formed his own record label All Star Records and produced wrote and recorded a 45 RPM single for his old friends The Polka Jacks the first band he played with. The song “You’re The Reason Polka” was recorded at Balkan Recording Studio in Berwyn, IL featuring Danny on trumpet and vocal.
By 1962, Danny formed his own Polka Band “The Highlighters” and in short order their distinctive double saxophone arrangements and polka styling’s made them one of the most popular polka groups in the area in the Chicago and northwest Indiana. A special feature and attention getter was the outstanding talents of show drummer Bobby O’Dell (Bytnar). It was during this period that Danny Mack found his niche’ in songwriting, and in 1963 Danny wrote, recorded and released his first 45 RPM single “My Sweetheart Rosalinda Polka” on his ALL Star label, which was soon in jukeboxes all over and getting tremendous airplay on polka radio. The very first Polka DJ to spin “My Sweetheart Rosalinda” was none other than Leon Kozicki who later founded the International Polka Association. Over the years My Sweetheart Rosalinda Polka has been recorded by many polka bands, such as: The Casinos’ Nesgodas’ Naturals from Duluth, MN, The Concertina All Stars Buffalo NY, and many others. Bobby O’Dell was drafted into the armed forces and replaced by polka drummer, the late Joe Kania who Danny met when Joe was playing with The Imperials at Club Irene. In 1964 The Highlighters disbanded due to members job commitments, and Danny Formed the Show group The Stagemen playing three night weekly at the famous Melody Mill Ballroom in North Riverside, IL The Stage men played in the Ivy Nod Room downstairs from the ballroom and shared the marquee, with the likes of Ted Weems, Les Brown, Guy Lombardo and Harry James. After a year together, the Stage men disbanded due to health issues with key member and tenor sax man Bill Harvey. Ironically shortly after Danny received a call from former drummer Joe Kania who told Danny that he was with a newly formed group The Casinos’ consisting of Eddie Madura, Don Ptak and Danny’s’ long time friend and accordionist Gerry Stanley. Joe also explained that they were doing an album with Bel-Aire Records and were going to include Danny’s’ “My Sweetheart Rosalinda Polka” on the album and also on a 45RPM single. The Casinos’ garnered a hit with the tune in short order. A short time later, Danny received a call from Gerry Stanley who asked Danny if he’d be interested in taking his spot since he was planning to form a duo with drummer Wayne Martin and play the hotel clubs and lounges doing pop music. Danny accepted the offer and was now accordionist and vocalist with the very popular Casinos’ reunited with his old friend and drummer Joe Kania. At the time Danny was with the Casinos he was one of the very first to introduce the brand new instrument the Cordovox Accordion to a small polka band, developing that big full bottom sound with his distinctive left hand bass techniques and styling’s. Danny’s’ versatile and distinctive vocal styling’s were always crowd pleasers. An innovator when most polka bands were playing the old standards for pop sets Danny was mixing convincing vocal renditions of Country Music songs ala Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis and others in addition to attention getting Elvis Presley tribute sets. Danny also played trumpet harmony parts with Don Ptak while playing the Cordovox accordion at the same time. Danny traveled with the Casinos’ playing gigs in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota at the famous Bel Rae Ballroom in Mounds View, MN. The band frequently backed up Wanda & Stephanie, The Skaja Sisters and Chicago’s’ Polka King and IPA Hall of Famer, the late Lil Wally, (Walter Jagiello). From time to time during off times you’d find Danny on accordion with the late Lil’ Richard (Towalski) The Polka General and his band sometimes playing gigs in N/W Wisconsin. While with The Casinos’ Danny wrote and arranged most of the cuts on the album Polka Varieties on Bel-Aire Records and several 45RPM Singles which include: The Polka Convention Polka, Daddy’s Waltz, A Phone Call From Daddy, Soldier Boy Polka and Is There Room In Your Heart For Me. In 1966 while still with the Casinos’ Danny was a guest on the famous Jack Eigen Talk Radio Show WMAQ Radio in Chicago and talked about Chicago Polka Music. It was the first time a polka personality ever appeared on a radio show of this type. Could be compared to Howard Stern having a polka musician on his show today quipped some of his friends. Danny stayed with The Casinos’ until the mid 70s’ and left to pursue other musical endeavors. At that time he was doing a solo act, performing three nights a week at The Personality Lodge & Banquet facility in Chicago, owned and operated by Polka personality the late Johnnie Hyzny. During that period Danny wrote a special song for Johnny appropriately entitled: “Mr. Personality”. Johnny was so surprised and delighted that he encouraged Danny to record it along with a song Danny performed that he loved “Roses From a Stranger”. Johnnie made arrangements for Danny to record at Bel-Aire Studios owned by the late Polka bandleader and Grammy Award Winner Eddie Blazonczyk. Eddie released the 45 RPM Pop release on his Versa Records label and before long it was on jukeboxes all over in the Chicago area. As a result of the song and recording, Johnnie Hyzny attained the moniker “Mr.” Personality”. Danny had now begun to spend more time devoted to writing which included country music songs that he had a talent for.