|Waiting for the Glue to Dry
Down by the Salley Gardens
Dr. Einstein Conquers the Sea
One Last Ride to the Durham Fair
Same Damn River
The Sea Ran High
The Wrong Side of the Gulf Wind
A Little Tune and a Simple Rhyme
Francis, Dear Sir
Songs for an Furthermore... - Larry Kaplan
"Some of the most finely-crafted songs in modern folk music."
No Depression, The Folk
Roots Authority, Austin,
Fourteen songs - Original and traditional tunes,with special guests, Cindy Kallet,Grey Larsen, Greg Artzner,Terry Leonino, Abby Newton, Tom Goux, and Brian McNeill.
A song about a luthier, one on a loss at sea, of baseball, country fairs, Francis James Child, and Albert Einstein, one (or more) about unrequited love, among others. Call this collection eclectic; but I think there is still a thread. Here are people across centuries, from our backyards and across oceans, sharing their foibles and successes, their struggles and heroics, combining in haphazard ways to tell us that we are still all on the same journey. Most of the songs in this CD are original, thus contemporary songs. Some are traditional. I have tried over the years to blur the line between the two and hope both sustain. I want nothing more than to hear others sing them. I am grateful to the friends who helped me with this CD, to Brian McNeill, Cindy Kallet, Grey Larsen, Abby Newton, Tom Goux, and to Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner of ‘Magpie’ for all their incredible virtuosity, to Grey for his tremendous technical skills and patience, to Folk Legacy Records, Inc. for remaining in the vanguard (still) of the very roots of the music I love, and to Nora who always knows what I’m doing better than I do.
Waiting for the Glue to Dry, (words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry guitar, vocals)
The talented artisan-luthier, Nick Apollonio of Apollo Stringed Instruments and I often play music together whenever I am in Maine. He is not only a remarkable craftsman but a fine musician who plays every instrument he builds and can build every instrument he plays. This song is about something that may have happened to him at one point; I don’t know, but I am sure the sentiments behind devoting one’s life to building fine handmade musical instruments in this day and age are those he would agree with. If you are ever in the Rockport, Maine area, visit Nick’s shop.
Down by the Salley Gardens, (trad, lyrics collected by William Butler Yeats, (Larry—arrangement, guitars, Grey Larsen— Anglo concertina, Harmonium, Abby Newton-cello)
I, like many, first read this poem in English class. For me, it always stood out as a remarkably succinct and ‘economical’ poem so different from some the longer poems of its genre. It was years later when first hearing an acapella group sing it, that I learned that William Butler Yeats had searched for and discovered pieces of the lyrics sung to an old Irish melody. Yeats was a careful collector of traditional songs and for this song, he visited villages and towns in search of the entire song, but probably never collected all the lyrics.
He assembled what he had into the poem and first published it in 1889 as “An Old Song Resung,” in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. A “Salley” is a willow and young lovers would often meet in willow groves away from the village. On this particular day, a young man finally got the message and some good going-away advice.
Dr. Einstein Conquers the Sea, (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar and vocals, Grey Larsen—tin whistle in C).
I came across a very obscure mention in an old travel log about an incident in which Professor Albert Einstein ran aground on a solo sail on the Connecticut River just a bit upriver from where we live. Apparently his family vacationed in and around Old Lyme, CT. just across the way, and marrying into a family of sailors, he was anxious to learn how to sail himself. Of course, he could do anything because after all, he was Einstein, but the Lower Connecticut is riddled with sandbars, and the Professor discovered one---unfortunately, the story goes, in front of many amused bystanders. Here’s what happened.
One Last Ride to the Durham Fair (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar and vocals, Cindy Kallet—vocals, Grey Larsen—vocals)
Connecticut like so many other places, still has agricultural fairs in the late summer or early autumn. In some respects they haven’t changed over the centuries. The “modern” county fairs still play an important role in local agriculture and support the rural communities. Folks meet to relax and mingle at the end of a busy summer, as well as to exchange ideas, equipment and livestock. Today, while there is less farming in Connecticut, baking, gardening, and jam competitions abound, and children still bring their prize chickens, sheep and cows to compete for ribbons. This song is about a family’s last fair, and recalls both the long traditions rural communities have had with their county fairs but also how much has changed.
Baseball (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, banjo, vocals)
Who doesn’t remember knowing about or participating in the schoolyard baseball game where no body counted the innings, the “game was the thing,” and the fading daylight determined when it was time to declare the winner and call it a day?
Same Damn River (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, banjo, vocal)
I lived in New Orleans for a while and worked as a night clerk (for free room and board) in a French Quarter hotel while attending school. The hotel was literally next to the Mississippi River levee. Every morning I would ride my bicycle to school and look up at barges, tankers and passenger steamboats making that sweeping turn on the river. That was years ago but that river’s lore and history has stayed with me.
The Sea Ran High (Anonymous poem from a journal of the vessel, Lotus, 1833, E. Gale Huntington, ed. Songs The Whalemen Sang, Barre 1964, reprinted by Mystic Seaport 2005, Larry Kaplan--guitar, vocals, Cindy Kallet—guitar, Grey Larson—Harmonium, Irish alto flute in A, Abby Newton—cello)
I had promised Gale Huntington, the great collector and author, fiddler, singer and close friend, from Martha’s Vineyard that I would put to music a poem he found and included in his book, Songs the Whale Men Sang. The song comes from an entry in the journal of the vessel Lotus, dated 1833. Gale said that if it were a song, maybe “more young people would pay attention to it.” He found the poem both unusual among the songs he included in that volume and a haunting story. Many unanswered questions in such a short poem. Nothing more is known about the poem or the ship wreck it describes. This is in memory of Gale Huntington, a true friend of music. I wish he were alive today to hear it.
The Wrong Side of the Gulf Wind (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, vocals, Cindy Kallet—guitar, Grey Larsen—Irish alto flute in B-flat, Abby Newton—cello)
Another song from New Orleans, recorded live at the Trinity Coffee House, Branford Connecticut Folk Music Society, expertly recorded by Walt Graham of Walt Graham Productions.
New Year (Words by Cicely Fox Smith, adapted for song by Bob Zentz, music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, banjo, vocals)
Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall spent the New Year a while back at our place---a bunch of sentimental singers who deep down, did not want another year to turn over. We finished singing well past midnight. Half-awake, Bob handed me the words of a poem by Cicely Fox Smith that he had modified a bit. He challenged me to come up with a melody before sunrise. I took the challenge and came up with this by 7am---a musical “all-nighter.” Smith is one of the most prolific and flawless poets and writers about the sea I know. She lived in England at the turn of the 20th Century and while she wanted to ship out, instead she observed, studied, imagined, and dreamed of the sailor’s life. Her songs and poems are all authentic, accurate, and poignant. Many around the world keep her collections close at hand, and sing her songs, (and her poems). The definitive collection by Charlie Ipcar and James Saville (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2012) should be among the essential collections on any singer’s shelf.
Fishing Hole (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—1st and 2nd guitar, vocals)
I include this as a bit of simple philosophy of life, reminding myself that we must always hold on to the things we just plain love to do.
Reunion (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—1st and 2nd guitar, vocals, Tom Goux—piano)
I spent a number of years helping to restore and then sailed on the Arctic schooner, Bowdoin shortly after she was rescued by Capt. Jim Sharp and brought back to Maine for restoration. The Bowdoin is a graceful wooden schooner built in 1921 by Admiral Donald MacMillan to explore and chart the waters of the North and in his time, sailed there 29 times. After ‘Mac’ retired, she languished in disrepair for too long but I was there at the beginning of her rejuvenation and since then her story has been a wonderful one. Now the official sail training vessel of the Maine Maritime Academy, with public and private contributions ongoing, she is undergoing a major reconstruction to prepare her for many more years of service, some of it again to the Arctic. It was 40 years after leaving the vessel before I saw her again on a quiet October Sunday afternoon. Didn’t go on board, no one around, just sat there looking at her in her berth in Castine, Maine - and remembering.
A Little Tune and a Simple Rhyme (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, banjo, vocals)
This song contains, philosophy, ornithology, oceanography, landscape architecture, home construction, and paleontology all rolled into one. It began with a banjo tune I couldn’t let another decade go by without words.
Beacon (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, banjo, vocal, Terry---vocals, Greg—vocals)
I wrote this song as a reminder of how effectively a song can move people, policy, attitude, and even mountains. Pete Seeger isn’t actually mentioned by name in this song but it remembers him. There are still too many people in this world who don’t mind destroying our planet or don’t care if others do. Music is one way we can begin to address what can be done in response.
Francis, Dear Sir (Words and music by Larry Kaplan, Larry—guitar, vocals, Brian McNeill—fiddle)
Francis James Child, spent his career as a scholar, collecting English and Scottish Ballads - work that is now found in his well known, Popular English and Scottish Ballads first published in 1904 (Loomis House Press, 2011). Child was the son of a Boston sailmaker at a time when business must have been booming in that famous sailing port. In his childhood, he must have heard stories and overheard exciting conversations about the sea, by people who regularly came into his father’s sail loft from around the world. This song is an imagined story but perhaps something like this really happened---however you take it, remember that songs come from real experiences first hand or second, they change with the twists and turns of life, they are shaped by the decades and centuries in which they travel, and they always involve familiar themes. That this process—the folk process-- can span centuries will always amaze and inspire me.
Related Products :
Songs for an August Moon - Larry Kaplan This collection of 15 songs, Larry’s second recording with Folk Legacy, represents over 20 years of songs written by Larry, some previously unrecorded, as well as more recently written material that has never been published before. $14.98
Category : American Folk Music
Category : New On CD