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  Darcy Farrow Lyrics  Watch Steve play Darcy Farrow

Words and music by Steve Gillette and Tom Campbell

Click video camera above to watch

Where the Walker runs down to the Carson Valley plain,
There lived a maiden, Darcy Farrow was her name
The daughter of old Dundee and fair was she
And the sweetest flower that bloomed o'er the range.

Her voice was sweet as the sugar candy
Her touch was as soft as a bed of goose down.
Her eyes shone bright like the pretty lights
That shine in the night out of Yerington town.

She was courted by young Vandermeer
And quite handsome was he I am to hear
He brought her silver rings and lacy things
And she promised to wed before the snows fell that year.

But her pony did stumble and she did fall.
Her dyin' touched on the heart of us all.
Young Vandy in his pain put a bullet to his brain
And we buried them together as the snows began to fall.

They sing of Darcy Farrow where the Truckee runs through
They sing of her beauty in Virginia City too.
At dusty Sundown to her name they drink a round
And to young Vandy whose love was true.

© 1965 Compass Rose Music, BMI / Rumpole Dumple Music, BMI
Administered by The Wixen Group,
24025 Park Sorrento, Suite 130
Calabasas, CA 91302-4003
www.Wixenmusic.com

People Who Have Sung Darcy Farrow

(partial list)

Eddie Adcock
Dan Armstrong
Mack Bailey
Robin Batteau
Lou & Peter Berryman
The Bluegrass Cardinals
Cece Borjeson
Bryan Bowers
Randy Burns
David Buskin
Tom Campbell	
Chesapeake
Francis Collins
Cowboy Country
The Country Gentlemen
Jim Croce
John Denver
Lindsay Ferguson
Jim Fine
Steve Fromholz
Steve Gillette
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Tommy Goldsmith
Nanci Griffith
Larry Groce
Bill Hall
George Hamilton IV
The Hard Travellers
Kevin Harvey
Bill and Bonnie Hearne
Anne Hills
Hoot & Annie
Michael Hughes
Walter Hyatt
Ian and Sylvia
Doris Justis & Sean McGhee
The Kingston Trio
Dicky Lee
Gordon Lightfoot
Bob McNevin
Cindy Mangsen
Ian Matthews
Greg and Margie Mirken
Tom Mitchell
Alan Munde  (banjo Instrumental)
Michael Martin Murphy
The New Folk Revival
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Penny Nichols and John McEuen
Bob Oerman
Herb Peterson
Faith Petric
Pierce Pettis
Jeffrey Pine
Tony Rice
Josh Ritter
Garnet Rogers
Chuck Romanoff
Steve Romanoff
Linda Ronstadt
Tom Rowe
Tom Russell 
Michael Smith
Roger Sprung
John Stephens
The Sunshine Company
Art Thieme
Harry Tuft
Townes Van Zandt
Jerry Jeff Walker
Doc Watson
David Wilcox
Mike Williams

About Darcy Farrow

There has been a recent flurry of interest in the song, possibly due to recordings by Nanci Griffith, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, and Chesapeake. John Denver's recording of it is where many people first heard the song. (He actually recorded the song three times). His "Rocky Mountain High" LP has sold over four million copies. The song has really entered into the oral tradition, not an unwelcome thing but there are some misconceptions about it.

The song was written in 1964, by Tom Campbell and Steve Gillette and is based on something that happened to Steve's little sister whose name is Darcy. At twelve years old she was running behind her horse, chasing the horse into the corral, when she was kicked. She broke her cheekbone, but had no other lasting effects. She did spend three days in the hospital and all were concerned that she might have a concussion. She's fine today and has two grown sons.

During that time, Tom Campbell took a melody that Steve had written and came up with a story about the two young lovers and the tragic fall. Steve was a little horrified at the idea since it was so dark, and involved his sister's name, but as they worked with it and steered it in the direction of the old cowboy songs, he was much more comfortable with it. So many of the old cowboy songs take their melodies from the Scottish, English and Irish musical traditions.

The place names are actual places around the region of the high valleys and the Walker River. The Truckee River runs through Reno. Tom lived in Yerrington for a time when he was eight or nine years old, his dad was an engineer and was involved in the mining industry there. People say that they have captured something of the feeling of the high desert, and some have even looked for graves or other evidence of the old story.

Garnet Rogers (brother of Stan Rogers) is a great songwriter and storyteller. He was driving on highway 395 up near that part of the world when he saw some tail lights ahead and pulled over to call 911 to report a fender bender. As the dispatcher came on the line she asked where the accident was and he replied, "Where the Walker runs down into the Carson Valley plain."

When they had finished the song in the summer of 1964, Tom and Steve had a chance to sing it for Ian & Sylvia who were the first to record it. Tom had taken a folklore class with D.K. Wilgus at UCLA and mentioned to Ian that he used to turn in songs he had written or added to and claimed he had collected them from his grandfather. Ian got a big kick out of that idea, and incorporated it into his introduction to the song. In their travels, Ian and Sylvia spread that story to lots of people around the country. Of course, they introduced the song to all those people at the same time.

It has since been sung by Gordon Lightfoot (although he never put it on a record) George Hamilton IV, David Wilcox, Steve Fromholtz, Jim Croce, Townes Van Zandt, Iain Matthews, Bill and Bonnie Hearne, and lots of other folks. One fellow has written a novel based on the story, and the song has even inspired a drink recipe featured in Esquire Magazine. All in all, the song has been recorded by more than three-hundred people and sung by many hundreds more. A partial list is shown here at the left.

There are many versions on the Internet, Steve's is here, as well as a two-part tutorial on how he plays the song.

Shown here are the lyrics as we currently sing it.

 

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