Song of Chivalry [demo]

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?

Faintly Fahey [demo] [cleaner version]

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.

Copyright David Harley, 2017.

Can’t Sleep

[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

Copyright David Harley, 2017


CD Review – Occidental Gypsy

Another of my reviews for, this time of a CD called ‘44070’ by Occidental Gypsy.

Another of my reviews for, 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.

OCCIDENTAL GYPSY – 44070 (own label)

David Harley