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Monday, 26 September 2016

Erik Darling born 25 September 1935

Erik Darling (September 25, 1933 – August 3, 2008) was an American songwriter and a folk music artist. He was an important influence on the folk scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Darling born in Baltimore, Maryland, actually spent his childhood in Canandaigua, NY, Darling decided not to join the family paint store business and instead came to New York in the early 1950s. By the time he was in his early twenties, he was a regular fixture in New York City's Washington Square folk scene. A superb banjo player and perhaps an even better 12-string guitarist, and possessing a clear, warm, and expressive tenor singing voice, Darling was an expert at bringing out the best in the musicians around him.
Darling soon formed the Folksay Trio. The group recorded an album in 1951 that included Darling's arrangement of the traditional "Tom Dooley" — the same arrangement, according to several historians of the era, that became folk music's first big hit, in 1958, for the Kingston Trio. He then formed the Tunetellers in the mid-'50s, and after a name change to the Tarriers, the group had a Top Ten hit with "The Banana Boat Song" (the song is also known as "Day-O" after its distinctive refrain and was subsequently an even bigger hit for Harry Belafonte) in 1956.  

In April 1958 Darling replaced Pete Seeger in The Weavers, although he continued working club dates with The Tarriers until November 1959. Darling also recorded three solo albums. His second solo effort, True Religion for Vanguard in 1961 was influential on younger folkies of the day. Darling left the
The Weavers

Weavers in June 1962 to work as a soloist on the emerging coffeehouse circuit. Don McLean who became friends with Darling in 1961, looked back on Darling as “a genuine philosopher and perfectionist.” He said, “I appreciated the time he spent with me so long ago. Undivided mental attention to every aspect of music making and performing is a hallmark of Erik’s work, and I believe some of that rubbed off on me.” 

That summer he formed a jazz-folk trio, The Rooftop Singers, with long-time friend Bill Svanoe and jazz singer Lynn Taylor. Intended as a studio-only project for Vanguard, the group landed an unexpected number one pop hit with the song "Walk Right In." The trio released further singles, including "Tom Cat" and "Mama Don't Allow," and a pair of albums, Goodtime and Rainy River, before splitting up in 1967.  

In  1975, Darling issued a duet LP with Pat Street, a later member of The Rooftop Singers. Music from this album was used in the film “Forrest Gump,” and Darling’s banjo playing accompanies the Kossoy Sisters in the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” Darling released a solo album, "The Possible Dream" on Elektra in 1975, and thereafter dropped out of the music scene for a while, occasionally surfacing as a fill-in for Weavers revivals and other folk concerts. He moved to Santa Fe, N.M., where he pursued painting and performed around town. He also taught banjo, numbering Béla Fleck among his students. 

Never one to seek the limelight, Darling continued to record and work in the folk and emerging Americana vein, even flirting with a kind of desert country sound with his group Border Town (which also included members Sid Hausman and Lynn Lucas), which released the solid Border Town at Midnight album in 1994.  

Always an elegant singer and instrumentalist, Darling never lost his ability to rearrange traditional material into new forms that carried the past even as they were subtly updated to handle the present. Shortly before his death, he completed his autobiography, "I'd Give My Life." Darling died on August 3, 2008, in Chapel Hill, NC, from complications due to lymphoma.

(Info edited mainly from Wikipedia & All Music)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “Erik Darling- True Religion & Train Time” go here:

1 True Religion (1961)
2 St. John's River
3 Woody Knows Nothing
4 Virgin Mary
5 Diamond Ring
6 Blackeyed Susie
7 I'm On My Way
8 Cuckoo
9 Jumpin' Judy
10 Moanin' Dove
11 Frankie And Johnny
12 Everytime In Go To Town
13 Lonesome Valley

14 Hail John 2:08 (1963)
15 Charlie Green 2:02
16 You Don't Know 2:30
17 Banjo Tune 1:41
18 Fod 2:00
19 Guitar Blues 3:09
20 Train Time 5:01
21 Shady Grove 1:38
22 I Love My Love 2:48
23 Bones 2:48
24 Ragtime 2:04
25 Long John 2:54
26 Miss Otis Regrets 2:32
27 Children, Go 2:24