David Harley, copyright 1986. Published in Vertical Images 2, 1987. I waited 30+ years for the melody to turn up, and finally it did after we moved to Cornwall. And yes, I know that it’s unlikely that M’Lord fought at Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). While the Black Death subsided in England from about 1350, but outbreaks continued right through the first half of the 15th century and well beyond.
Conventional version, in standard DADGAD, combined with an instrumental version of The Holy Well:
Version in Nashville tuning:
Also in Nashville tuning, but live version from Ian Semple’s radio show for Coast FM:
Also on SoundCloud:
When M’Lord returned To his sheets of silk And his gentle lady Of musk and milk
The minstrels sang In the gallery Their songs of slaughter And chivalry
The rafters roared With laughter and boasting Beakers were raised and drained In toasting
The heroes of Crécy And Agincourt Or the madness Of some holy war
The hawk is at rest On the glove once more Savage of eye And bloody of claw
Famine and fever Are all the yield Of the burnt-out barns And wasted fields
The sun grins coldly Through the trees The children shiver The widows grieve
And beg their bread At the monastery door Tell me then Who won the war?
Improvised slide piece that reminds me a little of John Fahey.
I’m ashamed to say I’m not well acquainted with the work of John Fahey, though I have occasionally played ‘The Death of the Clayton Peacock’ which I learned, I think, from a guitar anthology album. Even the way I play ‘Poor Boy/Vestapol’ ultimately derives from Stefan Grossman rather than either Fahey or Robert Wilkins. But that’s another story.
This is actually an improvisation (which started as a sort of pseudo-air in D-modal but somehow moved to a slide piece in Csus2), but it reminded me a little of the Fahey tracks I heard in the 70s. And now I think I’m going to have to start listening to him again.
Slightly tighter version than previously, played on resonator guitar.
[Version recorded for Ian Semple’s radio show on CoastFM, but in the end we didn’t use it.]
First attempt at a (very basic) Youtube video: this time using a high-strung guitar.
Captured to audio and remastered:
Original version. Another make-it-up-as-you-go-along jobbie. The words had actually been following me around for a few months, but it wasn’t till I started playing about with a Csus2 tuning (CGCGCD) that it clicked. Retained for purely historical reasons, since I’m now likelier to play it in DADGAD.
Words and music copyright David Harley, 2017.
I don’t need this jangle
In my nerves
And in my head
I don’t need
These lonely hours
Here in my weary bed
But I can’t sleep
I can’t turn her off
I can’t get her out of my head
The night hours
Are bleeding away
Till the light runs away with my time
The shadow fades
And I’m so afraid
My words are refusing to rhyme
But I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her off
I can’t get her out of my mind
I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her down
I can’t get her out of my head
I can’t pick her up
I can’t put her down
I can’t get her into my bed
I can’t find the path
I can’t do the math
I can’t get it into my head
And I can’t break it down
I can’t break it up
I can’t get you out of my head
Another of my reviews for Folking.com, this time of a CD called ‘44070’ by Occidental Gypsy.
Another of my reviews for Folking.com, this time of a CD called ‘44070’ by Occidental Gypsy. As the name suggests, they’re strongly influenced by the Quintette du Hot Club de France, but this CD moves away a little from Reinhardt and Grappelli and ‘Gypsy Swing’, with quite a lot of original material. Very interesting.