Back in the day

Alison Pittaway and I were once part of the team that ran the Jackson’s Lane folk club in Highgate, but only started writing together long after we’d both left London (for entirely different parts of the country). 

(Words by Alison Pittaway – Music by David Harley)


I said hello
and you cracked a smile,
I felt warm inside
just for a while.

Just two friends
back in the day,
No need for words then
[or at least it seemed that way]

We played and we laughed
as the world went spinning by
And time went faster then,
faster than we realized

There was no need for words
And no thoughts misunderstood.
You didn’t wait for an answer
And how I’d wished you would.

You’ve gone from me now,
Gone so far away.
But we were just two friends then,
Back in the day.

Oh, just two friends,
back in the day.

Carpenter Street [demo]

Words & music (c) David Harley

Sometime in 2014 I suddenly remembered this song from the early 70s and put down a basic track, then got excited and put in some sketchy harmonies and a bit of lead. So it has some decent ideas but very hasty execution. Obviously I intended to come back to it but forgot all about it until I took advantage of temporary (I hope) joint issues to do some housekeeping on my music blogs. I hope to get back to this one Real Soon Now and clean up the harmonies, but in the meantime here’s a version lightly remastered to bring up the volume. Which you may think is a mistake. 😉


It’s my beat
if I care to shuffle my feet
I don’t need saving
from Carpenter Street

I think I’ll throw a party
Asking all my friends
Turn on the lights and music
I’ll be leaving then

It’s my beat
if I care to shuffle my feet
I don’t need saving
from Carpenter Street

Damn you girl
You did your worst for me
Then swept away
On a wave of ESP

Sometimes I tell myself
You didn’t hurt so much
But still that irony
Is such a slender crutch

Paper constellations
Still have words to say
But really nothing changes
Since you went away

I have wings of silver
I have eyes of glass
You could have flown with me
All you had to do was a

Hands of the Craftsman

Words & music (c) David Harley


Minutes ago as God measures time
Something manlike emerged from primordial slime:
Ever since, Mother Nature has been on the run
From a hand with four fingers and opposable thumb.
That hand learned to grip, then it learned to shape
Flint into a weapon, then a tool to shape,
To build and to kill, and around then it learned
To strike sparks to bring fire and lighten man’s world.

Continue reading “Hands of the Craftsman”

Another Bangor Day

A blast from the past, and more personal than my later songs, though not quite as personal as it sounds. You may notice that the words below are not quite the same as the ones I sing. That’s because I came across an older version of the lyric with a couplet I like better than the one I’ve been singing in the last few years: I’ll have to update the recorded version. I don’t know why I changed the words, unless it was just because I spent a lot more time in the Glanrafon than in the Globe. But then I probably spent much more time in the Union bar… And if the first couple of verses make Bangor sound rather grim, that’s more to do with the situation described than it is with the shortcomings of the city itself, which is actually in rather a lovely part of Wales.


Backup captured from live video:

A dusty sunbeam brushed my face
and splashed the bedroom wall
as I rubbed my eyes and answered
the landlady’s morning call.
I hoped to get a line from you
but I don’t know what you’d say
still I comb the static from my head
on another Bangor day.

And over breakfast coffee
I watch the new day born
Into the multi-coloured boredom
of another North Wales dawn
and it seems to me I had a dream
in waking from a dream
but the thought slips through my fingers
as I pass the egg and beans.

And talking sociology
at lunchtime in the Globe
Janey said she liked me
but there was this bloke at home
and I shrugged and let her tell me
she was sorry just the same
but I shouldn’t bring on substitutes
this early in the game.

Six weeks since I saw you
and another day half-gone
and autumn blunts my memory
as another term rolls on
and there’s still a space left in my life
where you once used to be
but even my nostalgia
isn’t all it used to be.

copyright David Harley, 1971