Photograph taken for Look! magazine, ca. 1956. From the Erik Darling Collection.
With the new year the SFC is pleased to announce our newest addition: The Erik Darling Papers.
Songwriter and musician Erik Darling (1933-2008) first came to fame as a founding member (with Bob Carey and Alan Arkin) of the 1950s folk group the Tarriers, whose 1956 recording of “The Banana Boat Song” (aka “Day-O”) sparked a national craze for calypso music. When Pete Seeger left the Weavers in 1958, Darling was asked to take his place. Darling remained a Weaver until 1962 when he formed the Rooftop Singers with Bill Svanoe and Lynne Taylor. Their version of Gus Cannon’s “Walk Right In” spent 3 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963.
Darling also released several solo albums and wrote many instrument instruction books, as well as a 2008 autobiography, I’d Give My Life: A Journey by Folk Music .
The Erik Darling collection contains correspondence, scores, sheet music, song lyrics, dozens of photographs, audio recordings, and other items related to Erik Darling and his musical career. Of particular interest are recordings of phone interviews conducted by Darling while compiling his autobiography, including interviews with Guy Carawan, John Cohen, Billy Faier, Bess Hawes, Pete Seeger, and Mary Travers.
Listen to clips below of the Tarriers performing “The Banana Boat Song”:
and the Rooftop Singers performing “Walk Right In”: