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Origins: Old Zeb (Larry Kaplan)

DigiTrad:
DEAR FRIENDS AND GENTLE HEARTS
GET HER INTO SHORE
OLD ZEB
SONG FOR GALE
THE LOSS OF THE BAY RUPERT


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Larry Kaplan 27 May 13 - 01:30 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 13 - 04:14 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 13 - 05:15 PM
Larry Kaplan 27 May 13 - 06:37 PM
Stewart 28 May 13 - 06:24 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 17 - 03:12 AM
ChanteyLass 11 May 17 - 07:28 PM
EBarnacle 12 May 17 - 11:24 AM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 17 - 04:45 AM
ChanteyLass 02 Sep 17 - 08:54 PM
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Subject: Origins: 'Old Zeb' by Larry kaplan
From: Larry Kaplan
Date: 27 May 13 - 01:30 PM

Hi,

I have been recently compiling songs for YouTube and thought folks might like to hear my own singing of Old Zeb. I'll post others as well. Here's the link to the YouTube posting. Thanks

Larry Kaplan


'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan


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Subject: RE: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 13 - 04:14 PM

Hi, Larry - these are the words we have for "Old Zeb," as submitted by Dennis Cook to the Digital Tradition many years ago. Do you have any stories to tell us about the song? Any corrections to the lyrics? Please be sure to tell us how to get permission to use this song on recordings, etc.
-Joe-

OLD ZEB (from Digital Tradition)
(Larry Kaplan)

I'm not tired of the wind, I'm not weary of the sea,
But she's prob'ly had a bellyfull of a damned old coot like me.
I'm bound a-shore, she's gone for better days,
But I'll see her topsail flyin' when I come down off the way.

Chorus:

Rosie, get my Sunday shoes,
Gertie get my walkin' cane;
We'll take another walk to see
Old Alice sail again.

Wish I had a nickel for the men I used to know
Who could load three cords of lumber in half an hour or so.
Who could put sail be hauling, 'stead of donkeyin' around.
Then I' d be the poorest coasterman this side of Edgartown.

Any fool can run an engine, it takes brains to work a sail,
I've never seen no steamer make much good out of a gale.
You can go and pay your taxes on the rationed gas you get;
But at least to me, the wind is free, and they haven't run out yet.

If I ever get back to her, you know I'd treat her just the same:
Drive her when I want to, I'd sail in freezing rain.
Park old Alice on the beach, and go dancin' in the town,
Cause a man who's fit for hangin' prob'ly never will get drowned.

Learned from Bob Walser, Indian Neck, 1984
(who got it from Bruce Thompson)

The song concerns Capt. Zebulon Tilton, who skippered the
schooner Alice B. Wentworth out of Vinyard Haven. He retired at
age 83; Rosie and Gertie were his daughters. The song appears on
"Cap'n Hawkins' Choice" ( Winter Haven Records).

Copyright Larry Kaplan
@sailor @aging
filename[ OLDZEB
DC

Notes that Larry posted on the YouTube entry:
    Mildred Tilton Huntington first told me about the life and times of her great uncle, Zebulon Northrup Tilton in 1975, but I had known about this coasterman from Massachusetts a number of years before. Zeb was born in 1867, and died in 1952 at the age of eighty-five. He lived long enough to see the coasting schooner trade all but disappear. I wrote this song about the day Zeb's daughters, Rosie and Gertie, helped him ashore, leaving his favorite vessel, the 'Alice S. Wentworth,' for the last time. You can learn more about Zeb from Polly Burrough's book, "Zeb," and from the singing of many fine musicians and friends helped me share this song.---PS...Zeb always called her 'The Wentworth' and was every bit the kind of character the song tries to portray!

    (adapted from the liner notes of "Worth All The Telling" Folk Legacy Records, Inc., copyright, 1993)


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Subject: RE: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 13 - 05:15 PM

Larry-

Thanks for posting the link to your recording.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: DT Corr: OLD ZEB (Larry Kaplan)
From: Larry Kaplan
Date: 27 May 13 - 06:37 PM

Joe, Here are the lyrics to "Old Zeb." Thanks for asking. I Probably better get this to Digital Tradition...how do I do that?


OLD ZEB
(Larry Kaplan)

I'm not tired of the wind, I'm not weary of the sea,
But she's prob'ly had a bellyful of a damned old coot like me.
I'm going ashore, she's gone for better days,
But I'll see her topsail flyin' when I come down off the ways.

CHORUS:
Rosie, get my Sunday shoes,
Gertie get my walkin' cane;
We'll take another walk to see
Old Alice sail again.

I'd like to have a nickel for the men I used to know
Who could load three cord of lumber in half an hour or so.
Who could put on sail by hauling,'stead of donkeyin' around.
Then I'd be the poorest coasterman this side of Edgartown.
   
    Rosie, get my Sunday shoes....

Any fool can work an engine, takes brains to work a sail,
And I never seen no steamer make much good out of a gale.
You can go and pay your taxes on the rationed gas you get;
But at least to me, the wind is free, and they haven't run out yet.

    Rosie, get my Sunday shoes,

If I ever get back to her, you know I'll treat her just the same:
I'll jibe her when I want to boys, and I'll sail in freezing rain.
I'll park that old boat on the beach, and go dancin' in the town,
'Cause a man who's fit for hangin' prob'ly never will get drowned.

    Rosie, get my Sunday shoes....

Words and music by Larry Kaplan
© 1976, Winter Harbor Music, BMI
© 1991, Hannah Lane Music, BMI

From the song notes of "Worth All The Telling" Folk Legacy Records, Inc, Sharon, CT., CD-122 (by permission):

Mildred Tilton Huntington first told me about the life and times of her great uncle, Zebulon Northrup Tilton back in 1975, but I had known about this great fisherman and coasterman from Massachusetts a number of years before. Zeb was born in 1867 and died in 1952 at the age of eighty-five. He lived long enough to see the coasting schooner trade all but disappear. This song is about the day Zeb's daughters, Rosie and Gertie, helped him ashore, leaving his favorite vessel (he had owned a number), the Alice S. Wentworth, for the last time.

Stories? Too many to tell here. Zeb's popularity in his later years was sadly, not so much because of the trade he worked, but because of his wit and notoriety that found its way to the media. Still, I think he was a link to an appreciation of bygone days which I felt, through the song, maybe I could help preserve...not their memory but rather their importance. Besides sailing vessels STILL carry goods all over the world, just not much in the USA. Zeb called the Alice S. Wentworth "The Wentworth" never "Alice," so I have had to live with that poetic license for a long time. Rosiland and Gertrude did indeed escort Zeb arm in arm to say goodbye to the Wentworth just before he died, and after he did, the vessel changed mostly caring hands a number of times, meeting her final end dockside by Anthony's Pier Four Restaurant in Boston, during a Nor'easter. I first met E.Gale and Mildred Huntington when they invited me to the Island to hear my new song about Mil's uncle, and I promised not to play it until they made "suggestions" and said it was accurate, and that, incidentally included the words he often used (e.g. cord, no steamer, work an engine etc.) I've heard school groups in many places sing this song, there has even been a ring-tone for gosh sake. The real endorsement was Tilton family telling me, "Yes, that's exactly what Zeb was like." So it has taken on a life of its own. Read Polly Burrough's book "Zeb," (2005) available from the Bunch of Grapes. Bookstore in Martha's Vinyard to learn more, and thank you to all those who have been singing this. Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: Stewart
Date: 28 May 13 - 06:24 PM

I consider Larry one of the finest contemporary writers of maritime songs.

Thanks Larry for posting this song - a favorite of mine
And a nice recording on youtube.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 17 - 03:12 AM

Apparently, there's a film titled Zeb. There's also a very nice Website (click) to promote the film. Here's what it says about the Schooner Alice S. Wentworth:

    Built in 1863 in Norwalk, CT, the Alice S. Wentworth was originally named the Lizzie A. Tolles. In 1863 she was sold to Charles and Arthur Stevens of Maine, where she freighted coal, lumber and salt. After they rebuilt her in 1904, her owners rechristened her the Alice S. Wentworth after a niece.

    Zeb spotted her in 1906 in Portland, and quickly fell in love. He sold his ship the Wilfred J. Fuller and signed on as Captain. Here is the description Polly Burroughs wrote of the Wentworth in her book Zeb: Celebrated Schooner Captain of Martha's Vineyard:
    "...Seventy-three feet long with a sharp sheer and broad beam-she was a bricker-built to carry 5500 brick on deck. She drew only 5-1/2 feet of water when light and 7-1/2 when fully loaded with a hundred tons. With the centerboard down, she drew seven feet more..."

    Zeb had the opportunity to purchase the Wentworth in 1921 and remained as Captain until 1942 when vision problems forced him to retire, temporarily. The Wentworth then went to Maine as a cargo vessel for 10 years, when it was sold several more times and sailed as a windjammer cruise ship. In 1965 she was purchased by Anthony Athanas of Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant in Boston. Athanas moored her alongside his restaurant until it was destroyed by a storm in 1974. She was 111 years old.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 11 May 17 - 07:28 PM

Larry's on the bill for the early June 2017 Mystic Sea Music Festival. I'm sure he'll be singing this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Old Zeb' by Larry Kaplan
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 May 17 - 11:24 AM

The last pieces of the Wentworth are at the Barge restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge. They were placed in their garden after I brought them down from Rockland, Maine for the National Maritime Historical Society. NMHS had funded a final attempt to restore her but she was too far gone, as her shape had never been documented or modeled and Anthony's efforts to keep her afloat had largely broken her up. [He stuffed her with styrofoam.] She was placed on a barge and brought to Rockland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Zeb (Larry Kaplan)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 17 - 04:45 AM

Here's a document titled Zebulon N. Tilton and The Schooner Alice S. Wentworth Collection, by Linda M. Wilson



http://www.mvmuseum.org/collections/fa_pdfs/RU%20374--Tilton%20and%20Schooner.pdf



An excerpt:
    Zebulon N. Tilton was born on Martha's Vineyard in the town of Chilmark in 1866. He was one of seven brothers and a sister. The six Tilton boys loved to sing. Zeb himself sang enthusiastically and publicly until the end of his life.

    Zeb found his life calling at the age of 15 when he signed on to the two-masted schooner Eliza Jane sailing out of Vineyard Haven Harbor in 1882. She was captained by Josiah Cleveland. Years later Zeb would credit Cleveland with teaching him all he knew
    about handling a schooner, navigating the seas, and developing a rigorous work ethic.

    He was hardly a fastideous or frugal man, continually caked with the detritus of whatever freight he was handling and spending every penny that came his way. But he had a way with the ladies who were charmed by his wit and physical prowess and undeterred by his crossed eyes.

    In 1894 he married for the first time, to Grace Cook of Vineyard Haven. Grace however had a wandering eye and did not do well living alone in Chilmark while Zeb was away at sea. Their marriage lasted only two years.

    By 1900 Zeb was ready to captain his own vessel and acquired an ancient Vineyard Haven two-master called the Wilfred J.Fuller. Competing with rail, steam, and other schooners he held his own in the active coastwise trade.

    In 1901 he was married for the second time to another local girl, Edith Mayhew, who was descended from a legendary Vineyard family. They had seven children and remained together until her death in the 1930's.

    Sailing in to Portland Harbor in 1906 he encountered the great love of his life. Her name was the Alice S. Wentworth. Built in 1863, she recently had been rebuilt and rechristened.
    Zeb was so smitten he sold the Fuller and signed on to captain the Wentworth. Within two years he had argued with the owner and was back on the Fuller He eventually owned another two-master called the John B. Norris. He literally wore out both of these schooners. In 1921 for the grand price of $4500. he returned to the girl he never forgot and purchased the Alice S. Wentworth. She was 58 and he was 54. He captained her in the coastwise trade for the next 18 years.

    Captain Zeb was the subject of adventure stories and legendary escapades his entire life, but the business of the coastwise trade was nearly over by the mid 1930's. In the summer of 1934 he caused a stir at the America's Cup Race trials in Newport by bearing
    down on the yachts and the spectators and sweeping the Wentworth's bowsprit over the crowd. A bright spot from that time was his third marriage at the age of 72 to Grace
    McDonald at the Seaman's Bethel in Vineyard Haven. After the reception Zeb and his bride put out to sea for a little wedding trip to New Bedford.

    By 1936 he was losing his sight and was so deeply in debt that the Wentworth went on the auction block. Captain Ralph Packer and a group of Vineyard notables bought her for a paltry $701. and pronounced Zeb captain for life of the last commercial cargo
    carrier under sail in southern New England. Shareholders included James Cagney, Katherine Cornell, Denys Wortman. Through the sale of shares they financed her overhaul.

    Captain Zeb's final years were marked by considerable notoriety. He was interviewed by Lowell Thomas and Burgess Meredith, had his portrait painted by Thomas Hart Benton, and was honored at the All-Island Cavalcade, a hospital benefit, in 1941. He lived on to the age of 85 and died in 1952.

    And as for the Alice S. Wentworth, she returned to private ownership after a few years with the Associates. From there she moved to the pier in Boston where Anthony Athanas, her new owner, had his Pier 4 Restaurant. Mr. Athanas wanted her to go to the
    National Maritime Historical Society for restoration, but she was considered too old and too far gone. To keep her afloat she was filled with styrofoam and in 1977 she was blown to pieces by a winter storm.


Good story, eh?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Old Zeb (Larry Kaplan)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 02 Sep 17 - 08:54 PM

I've seen Larry several times, most often at Mystic Sea Music Festivals. Tomorrow (Sunday) evening I'll hear him on a live radio program, Bound for Glory, from Cornell U. from 8-11PM EDT. I'll be listening via streaming. The way these live concerts work is that the singer performs at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. During the other half-hours the radio host plays music by future guests and people scheduled to appear at area venues. Here's a link to the website. http://boundforglory.org/


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