Rain (video)

My entry for the July 2020 Trad2Mad competition for unaccompanied singers. I’m not altogether sure why I do these, unless it’s enjoyment at the pretence of being a singer. Anyway, this is a song I wrote in the 60s when I was still at school and had just discovered folk music. (The 3rd verse was actually added a decade or so later, and I’m still not sure whether it belongs there stylistically, but I sang it here anyway, though it was a last moment decision.) Nowadays, I often sing it with guitar (sometimes using the first verse as a chorus), but I originally intended it to be sung unaccompanied. Probably because I wasn’t much of a guitarist…

Audio capture, mastered to raise the volume slightly:

Backup copy:


Accompanied version:




Rain, the gentle rain that hung upon the grass
The autumn rain that touched the fields so early
When the summer sun returns will you hold me once again
In your arms, among the fields of golden barley?

Summer was a burning wind that raised a bitter crop
That came and went so swiftly and unfairly
And then the autum rain put a rust upon my heart
Left alone among the fields of golden barley

A pale song, a sad song to hold within my mind
A bitter song of summer love gone from me
When the summer sun returns will you hold me in your arms
Once again, among the fields of golden barley?

(Optional alternative 3rd verse)
A pale song, a sad song to hold within my mind
A bitter song of summer love gone from me
A pale song, a bitter song to hold within my mind
Left alone among the fields of golden barley

(Optionally, repeat verse 1, or use as chorus.)

David Harley

Videos with photos

I don’t actually feel that video is my natural home. I get frustrated by the rough patches in my live videos, and I don’t have the resources or the skills to put together a professional non-live video. Still, there are a few videos up now where a reasonable audio version has been combined with some appropriate photos, and (a few) people seem to like them. I’ve added them to a page on this site here as part of my ongoing tidy of the site, and if I do any more, that’s where I’ll add them. But here are the ones that are there already.

[Tracks 1 and 2, words and music (c) David Harley. Tracks 3 and 4, music (c) David Harley. Track 5, words by David Harley based on an article by Ron Nurse; music by David Harley.]

[All vocals and instruments by David Harley. Photographs and artwork (c)  David and/or Judith Harley.]

  1. Wrekin – a song about Shropshire, with particular reference to the section of the Marches Line that runs through it. Much more information here. 
  2. Cornish Ghosts – a song about the part of Cornwall in which I live.  More information here.
  3. Painting the Desert – a slide instrumental accompanied by photos from a trip to Arizona and thereabouts.
  4. Moonflow III – another instrumental, this time with multi-tracked guitars (no, that’s not a real sitar). Photos from Stonehenge and York.
  5. Thomas Anderson (actually a podcast rebuilt with photographs of Shrewsbury, where most of the events of the song took place.) More information on the song and historical background here. 

David Harley

Adventures in Video – Can’t Sleep

This was my first attempt at a (very basic) Youtube video  using a high-strung guitar. Now captured to audio and mastered to raise the volume.

Captured to audio and remastered:



Audio version recorded for Ian Semple’s radio show on CoastFM, but in the end we didn’t use it. Normally-strung guitar but in DADGAD tuning.



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


Adventures in Video – Blues for Davy

I am sometimes accused of copying Bert Jansch’s guitar style. If only I could… Of course, learning to play acoustic guitar in the late 60s, I learned a lot from listening to Bert, and probably more from John Renbourn, as well as folkier people like Martin Carthy and Nic Jones, country blues players, singer/songwriter types like Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs, and many more. But if there was anyone I really wanted to sound like, it was Dav(e)y Graham. ‘Blues For Davy’ was the nearest I got to DG in jazzy mode (as he so often was. It was originally recorded on home equipment for the ‘Sheer Bravado’ cassette. That version didn’t survive migration from cassette very well, but there’s a link to it below. There’s a good guitar piece in there somewhere, and I quite like the energy and economy of the two-minute version.

I’ve recently been revisiting it, though, with a view to giving it more light and shade. Using an electro-acoustic guitar has also given it much more of a ‘classic’ jazz feel – less DG, more Jim Hall or Charlie Byrd. I wish. Actually, this is the most recent version I’ve recorded: after I posted a slightly shorter audio version, someone suggested that it would be nice to have a video version so that they could some idea of the fingering.

Blues for Davy (Harley): 2020 video

To my surprise, this actually turned out to be the best of the recent versions, though maybe too long for some tastes. So I grabbed an audio capture, added a little reverb and mastered it to bring up the sound level.

Backup version:

And here’s the acoustic version from the 1980s.


There are a couple of other recent versions on the instrumentals page here and here, but these two very different versions are IMHO the best.

David Harley

Butterfly (Over the Hill) – two alternative versions

Having post links to a video and a couple of alternative versions of this blues-y thing, I discovered a couple of completely different versions lurking on a USB drive.

One version where I unleashed my trusty Les Paul. Haven’t done that for a long while…

Backup version:


And a slide version. Too slow for my taste now, but some nice slide-y moments.

Backup version:

David Harley

Adventures in Video – Butterfly (Over the Hill)

Recorded as a live video some time ago:

Here’s an audio version captured from the video and mastered to raise the levels slightly:

Backup copy:


A much older (1980s), slower version:

Backup copy:


You can’t cage a butterfly / not unless you break his wings
You can’t cage a butterfly / unless you break his wings
You can cage a songbird / but you can’t make him sing

I went over the hill / and I heard some flyer blow
I went over the hill / and I heard that midnight flyer blow
I’ve been too long in the city / time to grab my grip and go

You think I’m fooling / but, honey, it’s a fact
You think I’m fooling / but, honey, it’s a fact
You had a good old mule / but you just broke his back

David Harley