The Tarriers iTunes Tracks

The Tarriers

+ {Alan Arkin}

Famous for harvesting the talents of one future actor, ALAN ARKIN (a solo artist who’d already issued a solo LP for Elektra, ONCE OVER LIGHTLY (1955) {*5}), this easy-spun vocal-folk trio were also innovators and precursors to the likes of The KINGSTON TRIO; the fact The TARRIERS flopped with murder ballad `Tom Dooley’ before said group had a No.1, just might’ve been about timing rather than talent.
Naming themselves after a certain Irish song (`Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill’) and formed in Manhattan in the mid-50s, Arkin (acoustic guitar), Erik Darling (banjo) and African-American Bob Carey (acoustic guitar), first came on to the scene when providing backing for OSCAR BRAND on his 1956 LP, `Folk Songs For Fun’. Inking a deal with novice record imprint Glory, The TARRIERS almost immediately notched up a couple of Top 10 hits, `Cindy, Oh Cindy’ (which was billed with folkie VINCE MARTIN) and the pre-HARRY BELAFONTE version of `The Banana Boat Song’. THE TARRIERS (1957) {*7} debut LP sadly missed out on any chart action, although it featured their own spicy arrangements of a few of the aforementioned plus flop platters `Those Brown Eyes’, `Pretty Boy’, `East Virginia’ and Lee Hays’ `Lonesome Traveler’.
Subsequent tours of France (and the release of rare live set LES TARRIERS A’ L’OLYMPIA PANORAMIQUE (1958) {*5}) led to disillusionment within the ranks, and ARKIN was first to bail out; it was a sort of Catch-22, one could say. With a second African-American, Clarence Cooper as his replacement, second album proper HARD TRAVELIN’ (1959) {*5} fared even worse than its predecessor, and it looked like the trio were all but done when DARLING (a noted session man and solo act) finally joined his buddy Fred Hellerman in The WEAVERS; he would subsequently hit the Top 10 again with his group The ROOFTOP SINGERS.
However, when Eric Weissberg (yes, the soon-to-be “Deliverance” banjoman) enrolled, The TARRIERS continued to spread their folk-pop vibe via TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THIS (1960) {*5}, their first and only LP on Atlantic Records. In 1963, Carey had also gone. He’d allegedly been unreliable and was replaced by another former bluegrass acolyte, Marshall Brickman. The band was all but over when Weissberg joined the National Guard; Al Dana had depped for a while in 1965. By this time, Decca had pushed out Atlantic Records for two further LPs, the live at the Bitter End recording THE TARRIERS! (1962) {*5} and GATHER ‘ROUND (1964) {*4}.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Sep2015

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