Erik Darling

Child, Child

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Erik Darling's pleasant voice, sparkling banjo, deft 12-string acoustic guitar skills, and his unerring ability to supplement traditional material with like-minded originals has made him a sort of behind-the-scenes innovator on the folk scene for decades. A former member of the Tarriers (for whom he provided his version of "The Banana Boat Song," otherwise known as "Day-O"), the Rooftop Singers (his rearrangement of Gus Cannon's "Walk Right In" was a huge hit for them in the early '60s), and the Weavers (he was Pete Seeger's replacement), Darling has a stripped-down, melodic approach to folk that gives everything he touches a contemporary feel without stripping away the roots that lie just beneath the surface. Child, Child is all Darling (he does everything here, aside from a little added percussion) and includes a delightful mix of traditional pieces with key originals. He reprises "Walk Right In" and "The Banana Boat Song" here and turns in a fine version of the folk piece "Jay Gould's Daughter," which features some wonderful acoustic guitar. Two originals written with his frequent collaborator Pat Street, the title tune and "It Doesn't Matter at All if It Rains on Me" (reprised from his previous album, Possible Dream), show intricate melodies delivered with deceptive ease, and recall early Simon & Garfunkel, although it is more likely they learned these tricks from Darling rather than the other way around. At first listen, this collection seems rather unassuming, but repeated plays reveal a subtle melodic genius at work, and Darling fans won't be disappointed.

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