Electric Rain [demo]

I wrote this song (properly called ‘Rain’) when I was still at school in the 1960s and had just discovered folk music. And on the rare occasions when I’ve sung it in public, it’s always been unaccompanied, though I have previously recorded a version with pseudo-acoustic guitar. This, though is a very rough draft for a different vocal interpretation, and a step towards a properly electric accompaniment. More of that later.

David Harley

Not so Fahey [demo]

Another (non-bottleneck) version of ‘Faintly Fahey’.

The instrumental I call ‘Faintly Fahey‘ started as a sort of fake Irish air, then got translated into a bottleneck version. This is a non-slide version closer to the original idea.. There may well be more to come on this, as I think it might go rather well with the song ‘Can’t Sleep‘, but that needs more work.

David Harley

Two White Horses [demo]

A slide instrumental based on the song known as ‘One Kind Favor’ or ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’, first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson. It probably derives ultimately (and quite remotely) from a mournful Victorian ballad by Gus Williams called ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Green’. There is a recording of the ballad by the Carter Family, who also recorded something closer to the bluesier song as ‘Sad And Lonesome Day’.

Updraught [demo]

Like Long Stand and Hands of the Craftsman, I wrote this for the revue “Nice…if you can get it”, directed by Maggie Ford sometime in the early 80s, but wasn’t used as it wasn’t really in keeping with the other material. I haven’t thought about it since, but when I found it lurking among my juvenilia a couple of years ago, found that not only could I more or less remember the tune, but that I actually quite like it. Minor changes to the lyric which no-one will notice but me…

[Remixed 10th June 2017]

I’m through with the world and those city screams
I’ll take to the air with a cargo of dreams
All of my life I’ve been tied to the ground
Now I’m spreading my wings to take to the clouds

Flying away
Flying away

No more will I lay aching bones on cold earth
Reaching out for the sun now I know what I’m worth
No more shuffling around, feet nailed to the ground
My skysails are set and I’m outward bound

Flying away
Flying away

At one with the winds I’ll take to the sky
No longer afraid of the sun in my eyes
I’ll rise with the lark and see the world so clear
But it’s your world, not mine, and my world is here

Flying away
Flying away

Words and music by David Harley © 1983

Song of Chivalry [demo]

[Added October 2018]

A live version from Ian Semple’s radio show for CoastFM. I was using a guitar strung for Nashville tuning but using DAGDAD, hence the very treble-y sound.

David Harley, copyright 1986. Originally published as a poem in Vertical Images 2, 1987.  I waited 30+ years for the melody to turn up, and finally did a make-it-up-as-you-go-along job, complete with a rough draft of a possible arrangement. There should be a better version when I’ve learned the tune… But the updated version below has a better guitar part.

And yes, I know that it’s unlikely that M’Lord fought both at Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). While the Black Death subsided in England from about 1350, outbreaks continued beyond the first half of the 15th century.

Song of Chivalry

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
Goblets 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 gauntlet 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 [demo]

[Better 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCRplGEV-8Y&feature=youtu.be

Another make-it-up-as-you-go-along jobbie. The words have actually been following me around for a few months, but it wasn’t till I started playing about with a Csus2 tuning (CGCGCD) this afternoon that it clicked.

The words may change in due course, and the guitar part needs some polish (it’s the first time I’ve used the tuning), but this certainly gives the general idea.

Back to this sooner rather than later, I hope.

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