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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Larry Kaplan

Fourteen new songs written in the folk tradtion by a gifted songwriter whose music is loved and sung around the world.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Waiting for the Glue to Dry
4:32 $0.99
2. Down by the Salley Gardens
3:39 $0.99
3. Dr Einstein Conquers the Sea
3:41 $0.99
4. One Last Ride to the Durham Fair
6:29 $0.99
5. Baseball
3:33 $0.99
6. Same Damn River
2:25 $0.99
7. The Sea Ran High
4:14 $0.99
8. The Wrong Side of the Gulf Wind (Live)
4:32 $0.99
9. New Year
3:33 $0.99
10. Fishing Hole
3:48 $0.99
11. Reunion
5:36 $0.99
12. A Little Tune and a Simple Rhyme
4:25 $0.99
13. Beacon
5:08 $0.99
14. Francis, Dear Sir
7:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

About Larry Kaplan

“Old Zeb," “Song for Gale," "Song for The Bowdoin," John,” “ Get Her Into Shore,” “Selling The Isabel”---- just a few examples of the extensive song bag of some of the best contemporary ballads from New England’s waters, and along its shores you will find in modern folk music today. His songs are loved by audiences around the world---poignant stories in song, written in the truest folk tradition, honest, highly singable… always memorable. Larry has also played a significant role in helping to bring the music collected by the late E. Gale Huntington, of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to scholars, performers, and collectors alike, who share a love for the songs sung and shared by sailors and whalers across many oceans. Born in Boston, Larry grew up in Maine and Massachusetts and now calls both London, England, and Essex, Connecticut home. He worked for many years on the traditional schooners from Maine, sailed on and helped restore the Schooner, Bowdoin. He has released two previous CDs through Folk Legacy Records, “Worth All The Telling” and “Songs For An August Moon,” and is pleased to present this, his third collection of new original songs as well as other traditional songs and song adaptations.


One of the best song-makers in the folk song revival."

-Sandy Paton, Folk Legacy Records

This is ‘Folk Music’ in the truest sense of the term, ballads telling stories of real people, past and present, seemingly simple but truly profound observations of history and contemporary life and the people who live it. The fact that these songs are contemporarily written—and written so well—illustrates how the tradition can be taken into the hands of a skilled songsmith, with love, respect, and care, and passed along to the listener with the values and lessons they embody.

-Larry Looney, No Depression: The Roots Music Authority, Austin, Texas

With his masterful attention to detail, poetic turns of phrase, and lilting musical sensibility, Larry Kaplan transports us to lives and times, both far in the past and contemporary. Larry has the ability to peer insightfully into the past, making it current for all of us, distilling the struggles, yearning and mournings of life into tuneful nuggets of history, deeply personal, and therefore recognizable as our own.

-Cindy Kallet

"Writes so honestly about people, he makes you feel a part of their lives...Kaplan tells delightful stories. His music is a rare find."

-Stephen Ide, New England Folk Almanac Cambridge, Mass.

"[His] mastery of music, song and storytelling is the finest I have heard.
One of the best folk music artists I know….

-Gery Deugaw, Archivist GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador

Some of the most finely-crafted songs in modern folk music….stunningly painted portraits of life in the North Atlantic seaboard states."

-Larry L. Looney Austin, Texas

Larry Kaplan is know best as a talented song maker…but as our audience discovered, in concert, Larry can weave those songs and tunes together with the stories behind them into a beautiful evening of music that will be long and fondly remembered by all.

--Ed Brown, The ‘U’N’I Coffeehouse, Springfield, Mass

"Strong voice, strong stories. His songs are New England through and through. His style is never cluttered or overwrought despite the difficult topics he explores. The charm of Kaplan is the beauty he sees in the ordinary. He gives a voice to those who are often not heard.

--Kelly Stimmell, Monadnock, Ledger, NH.

Lovely ballads and stories told in songs; real people, dealing with their good times and hard times.

--Faith Petric, San Francisco

Larry Kaplan's songwriting is what every songwriter should aspire to. He doesn't let himself get in the way. Just paints beautiful pictures of real landscapes, real people, real emotions in a way that always touches me deeply. What a gift!

-Kathy Westra Folklore Society of Greater Washington, D.C.

His songs are stories woven like my grandmother’s hand-made quilts… One of my favorite songwriters of all time.

--Wanda Fischer, National Public Radio, WAMC, Albany, NY

Full Reviews

REVIEW" No Depression The Roots Music Authority
Larry L. Looney (Austin, Texas USA) - See all my reviews

This review is for: Worth All the Telling (Audio CD)
Larry Kaplan's debut cd is a treasure chest full of some of the most finely-crafted songs in modern folk music. His background as a respected folklorist further solidifies the feeling of reality found in these songs -- stunningly painted portraits of life in the North Atlantic seaboard states. The characters and situations portrayed here spring to life, but gently, pulling the listener quietly into the stories and lives of New Englanders real and imagined. His songs have been covered by the likes of Gordon Bok, Cindy Kallet, and other well-respected practitioners of this genre. At 70+ minutes, every single track is a 'keeper' -- I cannot recommend this recording too highly. And God bless Sandy and Caroline Paton of Folk Legacy for having the good taste and faith to release this disc.

Album Notes:

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.



to write a review

Larry Looney

Real contemporary folk music – a living tradition
We each hear old sayings throughout our lives from previous generations. Too often we shrug them off without giving them a second thought, but as we age ourselves – and, hopefully, grow somewhat wiser, we recognize the truth in them. Two of these sayings that come immediately to mind when I think about the wonderful music that Larry Kaplan has produced are ‘Patience is a virtue’ and ‘Good things come to those who wait’. Fans of Larry’s music know the truth of these. His first album (WORTH ALL THE TELLING) was released in 1994, his second (SONGS FOR AN AUGUST MOON) in 2014. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait another 20 years for this new album – it’s a treasure, filled with wonderful songs. There’s more than a touch of nostalgia here and there, but that gives it an even stronger touch of the human nature and spirit – we all reminisce from time to time. Many of the lyrics recall days gone by, leaving the listener with a feeling that, at least in my case, I can honestly describe as heartwarming and comforting.

The opening song, ‘Waiting for the glue to dry’, exemplifies the expressions mentioned above, related to the work of a luthier and the time and patience that are intrinsic to the profession. The process simply cannot be rushed, and those who want positive results have to understand that. The song celebrates genuine pride in dedicated craftsmanship, and the philosophy and attitudes described here can apply to any work…including songwriting.

Any follower of Larry’s music would be right to expect songs dealing with sailing, and the sea, and they’ll be rewarded here with ‘The sea ran high’ (a poem collected by the late E. Gale Huntington and set to music by Larry), which relates the story of a shipwreck that killed all but one of the crew. Larry returns to the ship at the center of one of his most beautiful songs (‘Song for the Bowdoin’, on his first album) in ‘Reunion’. In the notes, he describes revisiting her, not on a journey (although he has sailed on the restored vessel), but just sitting alone, ‘looking at her in her berth’ and remembering. It comes across very much like one old friend sitting with another – and I have a feeling that’s how it felt to him. It’s a beautiful song, very moving in its depth and honesty.

There’s gentle humor here as well – ‘Dr. Einstein conquers the sea’ relates an incident in which Albert Einstein attempted a solo sail on the Connecticut River, illustrating that genius doesn’t always win when nature is involved. Actually, nature usually holds the upper hand. ‘Baseball’ and ‘Fishing hole’ harken back to the days of our youth, the activities and adventures we experienced – not necessarily part of any curriculum, but equally, if not more, important to our growth.

That’s not to say that contemporary, more serious subjects are left unaddressed – the album’s penultimate song, ‘Beacon’, is a passionate plea for global unity among the people of the earth in the face of all the forces that seem bent on destroying the planet. We can only hope more people will listen. The title is an apt metaphor for the guiding light upon which sailors rely. The song wonderfully reflects, without mentioning his name, the work of Pete Seeger, and is a fitting tribute to his tireless efforts. A couple of songs were inspired by Larry’s days going to school in New Orleans. ‘Same damn river’ recalls the time he spent watching the Mississippi boat traffic. ‘The wrong side of the Gulf wind’ vividly paints a picture of someone far from home, longing for the day when he can return.

All but three of the songs on the album were written by Larry. ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’ is a song most of us have no doubt heard many times. The lyrics were collected by W. B. Yeats, and Larry’s guitar and arrangement are perfectly framed by the wonderful accompaniment by Grey Larsen and Abby Newton. The words to ‘New Year’ are from a poem by Cicely Fox Smith.

I have to also mention that the sound quality on this album is superb, including the one live track. There is both clarity and body to the recording, the two being as perfectly balanced as I’ve ever heard. The engineering is of a level that ‘gets out of the way’ of the music, allowing the songs to shine through as if Larry were sitting in your living room playing for you. This is living, breathing folk music from the heart to the hearts of the listener, shared as it was meant to be shared. The songs here are thoughtfully crafted, performed skillfully and with honest feeling by Larry and his immensely talented friends. There is history and humanity and depth here just waiting to be heard. Treat yourself and give FURTHERMORE (and his other two albums) a listen. I think you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again.