Audio captured and mastered to raise the volume a little:
This Guitar Just Plays The Blues
A trace of your scent still lingers on my pillow
And raises echoes in my memory
And I believe you’re missing me almost as much as I miss you
But I wish to God that you were here with me
The sun will surely rise on another soft blue morning
And lying in your arms is where I’ll be
With sweet dreams still in my eyes, I’ll wake and kiss your hair
But it’s a long cold night while you’re not here with me
This guitar once played for keeps, but since you changed my life
This guitar just plays for you, if that’s OK?
This guitar rang bells for losers, but there’ll be no more songs of losing
Though this guitar just plays the blues while you’re away
The Chuck BeriBeri – words & music by David Harley
Strangely, this started off as a poem called The Walsall Concerto, then started to evolve into straight rock and roll, then suddenly turned into something altogether darker…
I don’t feel very much like dancing
No song worth singing but the blues
I used to feel like some kind of sex bomb
Till you absconded with the fuse
I think I need a holiday
So I’m out here on a midnight cruise
I’ve got the Chuck Berry-beri
Got to get a shot of rhythm and blues
I guess there’s no time left for loving
Looking into your backyard
But back to you was just a step too far
The waves are blowing higher
And we’re shaking at the end of the cruise
It’s a fascinating rhythm
But I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I thought I saw your nightlight flicker
But I don’t think there’s anyone at home
Maybe I’ll call you from the middle of nowhere
While I’m stranded by the side of the road
I still need a holiday
But I can’t afford another midnight cruise
Still I can’t break the habit
I need another shot of rhythm and blues
I’ve had this long-standing love-hate relationship with performing live. Now I can’t go to clubs/sessions/open mics, I really miss it. Of course, there are loads of sites and Facebook pages springing up where people in the same position can fill that gap in their lives, but most of them seem to want videos rather than audio. I’m not sure this suits me temperamentally: producing a decent audio recording is hard work, but I have access to reasonable gear, it doesn’t matter how bad the light is in the studio, and don’t need to start from scratch every time I fluff. To generate a video, I either have to compromise on sound quality and forgo serious editing, or spend time and money on mastering (pun intended) a new medium. Still, I’ve put out a few quick and dirty videos, and people seem to like them. So now I’m going to try to rationalize my video output, though not necessarily in chronological order. All songs are mine unless stated otherwise.
Copyright David Harley, 1976. All rights reserved.
‘Carpentry’ is an instrumental version of my setting of a poem from ‘A Shropshire Lad’, ‘The Carpenter’s Son’. The song was originally intended to be sung unaccompanied, but it somehow developed a guitar accompaniment with a slight Middle Eastern/North African/desert lute feel, and the first section is very much based on that.
The faster second section was meant to sound more medieval, and includes overdubbed dulcimer and bouzouki. Cittern would have been more appropriate, perhaps, but I didn’t have one to hand. 🙂 Strangely, it seems to have finished up sounding a bit like the Philip Glass Ensemble (but with much less time between pattern changes), but I like it.
Here’s the same instrumental preceded by an unaccompanied version of the song. The vocal was recorded in the 80s on domestic equipment, so a bit noisy and sibilant, and faster than I’d do it now, but the voice was in better shape then, so maybe worth a listen…
Here’s an early vocal and guitar version: it’s a bit tentative on the vocal because the guitar was quite demanding (it still is!) and I was still experimenting.
I still need to put a version together with a vocal I’m happy with.
And here are the words, since we may as well have the whole thing in the same place…
`Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.
`Oh, at home had I but stayed
‘Prenticed to my father’s trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.
`Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I left but ill alone.
`Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So ’tis come from ill to worse.
`Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same’s the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.
`Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.
`Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.’
Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, a large number of regular events have already been cancelled or at least suspended. I’m afraid I can’t promise to keep on top of all the events listed here as they go offline and (hopefully) resume further down the line. Of course, I’ll remove anything I know to have stopped happening altogether in due course. Where I can, I’ll continue to repost any relevant information on the Wheal Alice page on Facebook. Whether you decide to go to events that are still running is up to you, of course, at least until the government decrees otherwise: for the moment I’m leaving the list intact with contact details – where I have them – so that you can check on current status.