Folklife West magazine

I’m no longer writing for Folklife West, but it’s well worth checking out for folk-related venue information as well as its articles..

David Harley

An interesting resource for folkies

Recommended to me by my friend Andi Lee (The Ashen): a Mixcloud podcast series by Jon Wilks at The Old Songs Podcast. Here’s the current listing:

  • Ep12 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Banks of Green Willow’, ft. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
  • Ep11 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Lord Gregory’, ft. Burd Ellen
  • Ep10: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’, ft. Jim Moray
  • Ep9: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Myn Mair’, ft. Owen Shiers (Cynefin)
  • Ep8: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hal-An-Tow’ ft. Lisa Knapp
  • Ep7: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Dives and Lazarus’ ft. Nick Hart
  • Ep6: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hard Times Of Old England’ ft. Billy Bragg
  • Ep5: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘An Acre of Land’ ft. Paul Sartin
  • Episode 4 – “The Sweet Nightingale” The Old Songs Podcast with Jackie Oates & Jon Wilks
  • Episode 3 – “On Humber Bank” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Ben Walker
  • Episode 2 – “Tam Lin” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Jim Moray
  • Episode 1: “Henry Martin / Lofty Tall Ship” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Nick Hart

I’ve been dipping in and out of UK and Irish folk music for many decades now, and am well-acquainted with most of these songs, but still found much to enjoy here.

David Harley

Adventures in Video – Young Hunting (Trad2Mad version)

 

This is an unaccompanied version of ‘Young Hunting'(Child 68) I found when I was still at school in the 1960s, though I’ve undoubtedly changed it since. I didn’t have a tune for it, so I cobbled one together. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I found the words, though I’ve come across a fairly similar American text (unattributed) since.

I don’t always sing it unaccompanied, though.

Light down, light down my own true love
And stay with me the night
For I have a bed and a fireside too
And a candle that burns so bright.

I can’t light down and I won’t light down
Nor spend the night with thee
For I have a love and a true true love
Would think so ill of me

But he’s bent down from his saddle
To kiss her snowy white cheek
She’s stolen the dagger from out of his belt
And plunged it into him so deep

She’s taken him by his long yellow hair
And the maid’s taken him by the feet
They’ve plunged him into that deep doleful well
Full 20 fathoms deep

And as she’s turned her round to go home
She’s heard some pretty bird sing
Go home, go home you cruel girl
And weep and mourn for him

Fly down, fly down you pretty bird
Fly down and go home with me
And your cage will be made of the glittering gold
And the perch of the best ivory

I can’t fly down and I won’t fly down
And I’ll not go home with thee
For you have slain your own true love
And I’m feared you’ll murder me

I wish I had my bent horn bow
And drawn with a silken string
I surely would shoot that cruel bird
As sits in the briars and sings

I wish you had your bent horn bow
And drawn with a silken string
I surely would fly from vine to vine
And always you’d hear me sing

Audio capture:

Backup:

David Harley

The Colossus of Roads

‘Colossus of Roads’ began as a sketch for a song or poem, a humorous look at my own late-flowering and less-than-athletic assimilation into the keep-fit-FitBit-kulture.

Sometimes it’s the butterflies
Sometimes it’s the view
Sometimes it’s just the steps
I know I must accrue

Now that my world has shrunk to a 25-step indoor mini-stadion, it’s somehow become a full-blown article.

(c) David Harley 2020 – all rights reserved

Continue reading “The Colossus of Roads”

Adventures in video – Paper Tiger

Audio capture:

Backup:

Paper Tiger (words & music by David Harley)

Oh, you paper tiger,
Now see what you’ve done
You made your stand on shifting sand
And now begins the fun

Your bluff’s been called at last
So what do you do now?
Now someone got the drop on you
And finally faced you down

Oh, you paper tiger… (x2)

Oh, you paper tiger
Now see what you’ve done
Every chamber emptied
And nowhere left to run

How could you forget
The only code that you lived by
To move so fast and talk so soft
And keep your powder dry?

Oh, you paper tiger… (x2)

Oh, you paper tiger
Now see what they’ve done
They’ve picked you clean and strung you up
To dry out in the sun

Oh, you bigshot bankrupt
You flamed-out flat-lined fake
They’ll bake you in the ashes
Of your latest last mistake

Oh, you paper tiger … (x2)

Adventures in Video – Now How Long?

The first version of this goes back to the late 60s or early 70s, but I’m not sure if I ever performed it in public. An attempt to write something blues-y that wasn’t a 12-bar.

Audio capture:

Backup:

Heard some lonesome whistle blow
How long Lord?
I guess it must be time to go
How long?
When you get those hard luck blues
All you need is walking shoes
How long Lord?
Now how long?

Empty pockets, empty bed
How long Lord?
Empty dreams in an empty head
How long?
When you get those walking blues
Radio just plays bad news
How long Lord?
Now how long?

When you feel those cold winds blow
How long Lord?
You know the way you have to go
How long?
Thought I heard the DJ say
Got no reason left to stay
How long Lord?
Now how long?

Standing by the railroad track
How long Lord?
Heading out with no way back
How long?
Waiting in the pouring rain
Must have missed that Gospel Train
How long Lord?
Now how long?

Paper Tiger [rough demo]

All rights reserved

Backup:

Paper Tiger (words & music by David Harley)

Oh, you paper tiger,
Now see what you’ve done
You made your stand on shifting sand
And now begins the fun

Your bluff’s been called at last
So what do you do now?
Now someone got the drop on you
And finally faced you down

Oh, you paper tiger… (x2)

Oh, you paper tiger
Now see what you’ve done
Every chamber emptied
And nowhere left to run

How could you forget
The only code that you lived by
To move so fast and talk so soft
And keep your powder dry?

Oh, you paper tiger… (x2)

Oh, you paper tiger
Now see what they’ve done
They’ve picked you clean and strung you up
To dry out in the sun

Oh, you bigshot bankrupt
You flamed-out flat-lined fake
They’ll bake you in the ashes
Of your latest last mistake

Oh, you paper tiger … (x2)

Bottle [rough demo]

Tune not yet entirely settled.

Backup:

Bottle (words & music by David Harley)

I called out softly through the darkness
Hoping someone might try the door
Hoping someone might have the key
But I don’t trust the daylight anymore

Someone knocked the bottle over
It happened once before
I suppose it might have been me
But I can’t trust the daylight anymore

I believe I’m getting stronger
Than I ever was before
But I won’t get up to look
Because I don’t believe in daylight anymore

 

Till I Find You Again [demo]

Backup:

Till I find you again (Harley) © 1972

With my guitar
I have built a wall
Of alibis

To shield my emptiness
And drive away the shadows
Of faces
I try to forget

I tried to write you a song
But the words got in my way

Just a wounded sky
Bleeding moonbeams

 

Adventures in Video: Wearing Out My Shoes

audio capture:

Backup:

There’s no future in singing the blues
I guess I’ll leave, I’ve got nothing to lose

Wearing out my shoes, walking away from you
And if I can’t walk, I guess I’ll fly – bye-bye…

I went down to the depot, looked up on the board
It said “good times here, but better down the road”

Wearing out my shoes, walking away from you
And if I can’t walk, I guess I’ll fly – bye-bye…

I’m going down to the crossroads, my cap in my hand
Looking for a woman that’s looking for a man

And wearing out my shoes, walking away from you
And if I can’t walk, I guess I’ll fly – bye-bye…