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Who recorded the original version of 1963 Hit "Walk right In"

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#1 noodle

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 05:48 AM

Do you remember the 1963 hit Walk Right In? At the end of this post you can click on the Youtube link to refresh you memory. 


But happens that this is not the original version of it!


"Walk Right In" is a country blues song written by musician Gus Cannon and originally was recorded by Cannon's Jug Stompers in 1929, released on Victor Records. It was reissued on album in 1959 as a track on The Country Blues.


Eric Darling formed part of The Weavers, a contemporanous folk group active since late '40s to 1964 and left them after hearing the original Gus Cannon recording when he decided to create a new version of it. He recruited two friends, Bill Svanoe (vocals, guitar) and former jazz singer Lynne Taylor (vocals) to record a folk version of "Walk Right In". Darling wanted the record to have a distinctive sound, so he and group member Bill Svanoe both played twelve string guitars on the song, although they had some difficulty in acquiring the instruments. Darling is quoted as saying that prior to the making of this record, "you couldn't buy a 12-string guitar...I ordered one from the Gibson Company, but in order to record the song with two 12-strings, we had to wait for the company to build a left-handed model for Bill". He called this group "The Rooftop Singers". They recorded the song for Vanguard Records and released it in 1962  with the writing credits allocated to group members Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe and by 1963 it became an international hit, the most successful single in Vanguard's history.


The single spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1963. It spent five weeks atop the Easy Listening chart, which would later become known as the Adult Contemporary chart. In addition, "Walk Right In" reached both the R&B chart (peaking at #4) as well as the country music chart, peaking at #23. The song reached #1 in Australia on the Kent Music Report in 1963, and it made the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart in the United Kingdom, peaking at #10. The song was included on the album Walk Right In, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Folk Recording.


The success of the song was a boon to Gus Cannon, who was in his late 70s and had been forced to pawn his banjo the previous winter to pay his heating bill; he received royalties as a songwriter and saw renewed interest in his music, which led to a recording contract of his own.


Although Eric Darling was recognized a tremendously talented musician with a subtle sense of poetry and musicianship, a master of the banjo, a virtuoso on the 12-string guitar, and the possessor of a well-received tenor voice, neither his group, The Rooftop Singers, nor himself, could repeat the feat of "Walk Right In" which remained their one-hit-wonder.


I've listened numerous versions of Walk Right In but I believe none of them has the quality of the sound in full stereo provided by the two 12-string acoustic guitars enhanced in the orignal studio recording which by the way sounds much better than the Youtube video.


The Rooftop Singers' version appears on the soundtrack of the Tom Hanks film  Forrest Gump.




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