Saturday, February 21, 2009

Remembering people you didn't really know

Erik Darling died last year.

Erik was a folk singer. He was part of three pretty famous groups back when folk singing was popular in the late 50s and early 60s. Seems like so long ago that they had hootenannies and such, and even movies about it. There were a lot of folk singers you knew the names of back then. Erik likely wasn't one of them.

Anyway, Erik was a founding member of a group called "The Tarriers," along with Alan Arken (who won an Academy Award for his performance in "Little Miss Sunshine" a few years back. And he was in "Catch 22" and "The Inlaws" and others. And also with Bob Carey. I'm betting you didn't even know Arken was a folk singer. The Tarriers also appeared in a movie called "Calypso Heat Wave" with Maya Angelou. Betting you never thought she was in movies either. Ah, well. Doesn't matter.

When Pete Seegar left the Weavers, Erik Darling took his place. That was Erik's second famous group. Finally, he joined two other singers to form "The Rooftop Singers" (left) to record a song called "Walk Right In." He had no idea at the time how much this would popularize the 12-string guitar. Six weeks after it's release, Walk Right In was the number one song in the nation.

Darling also recorded some solo albums and some duets. Some of this music appeared in "Forrest Gump" and his banjo talents were heard on "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (accompanying the Kossoy Sisters) not too long ago. But it is unlikely you knew his name, although you probably enjoyed his music.

Shortly before his death, he completed his autobiography, "I'd Give My Life." Worth the read.

Erick died this past August. I still have a 12-string guitar around somewhere.

[Update: You may be wondering which one he is in the middle picture of the Rooftop Singers. There is a hint in the top and bottom pictures that will tell you, if you are somewhat of a detective.]


  1. You're right, I didn't know his name, nor the names of his various groups. I did know the songs though.

  2. I hadn't heard of him (though I've always been a fan of Alan Arken since The Russians Are Coming, The Russians are Coming.

    I know about admiring someone you never knew, though.

  3. It has been suggested in the past that I apply for a job at GCHQ. Left hand, right hand, male female. Too easy.

  4. I knew the song "Walk Right In," but I didn't know anything about Erick Darling, so thanks. I will have to look him up on YouTube.

  5. I knew the groups and the songs. Missed his name though. I'm guessing he's in the middle in the middle picture. Just given the way he's holding the guitar. The Mountain Man has a 12-string, but he usually plays his 6-string.

  6. @A. Hmmmm. I believe you. :)

    @Stephanie - I forgot about The Russians are Coming (again). He was good in that. I didn't know about him until I had seen him in later movies and then remembered him in that. Good memory!

    @Shelia - Well, good. I didn't think anyone would get it. Of course Max noticed straight away! (Or "right away" as we say here. :)

    @Lidian - I looked for him. All I saw was the song Walk Right in but I don't think they mentioned him by name.

    @Janet - Yes! It means he is right-handed. That was the clue. So observant! I prefer 6 string as well because it is too hard to keep 12 string tuned. But I love the sound of 12 string.

  7. Trivia, I love it. My hubby plays a 12 string. Acoustic guitar is my favorite and classical music on a guitar is the best!



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