They hang the man and flog the woman [demo]

Lyrics anonymous: tune by David A. Harley

The Inclosure Acts enabled the passing into private hands land that had previously been designated as either ‘common’ or ‘waste’. This process preceded by several centuries the formal Inclosure Acts (which began with an Act of 1604) and continued into the 20th century, resulting in the enclosure of nearly seven million acres. While enclosure facilitated more efficient agricultural methods, that increased efficiency and loss of communal land was a factor in the enforced move of so many agricultural labourers into towns. There are a number of variations of this poem, which is usually assumed to date from the 1750s or ’60s, when enclosure legislation started to accelerate dramatically. The tune here is mine: I haven’t yet learned it properly, so not a polished performance, but better than the previously published version, with some tentative harmonies on the repeat of the last line (which is not in the original text). 🙂

There’s a relevant thread on Mudcat here.

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common’
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

‘Please’ revisited

Please

Please let me go on dreaming
Don’t make me wake to find her gone
But it’s all right waking in the darkness
To find her still here in my arms

And the nightmares come and go but in the afterglow
The pain spills out across the sheets
If this is all a dream please let me go on dreaming

Please let us go on dreaming
Sleep away the bitterness that poisoned our lives
Help us go on believing / Tuning out the threats And the lies

Please hold back the daybreak
Let there be no more lonely dawns
Or else let tomorrow last for ever
Dreaming of the night before

Words & Music by David Harley
© 1977

 

Sarah McQuaid – The Sun Goes On Rising

Sarah ends her series of singles from the forthcoming album The St. Buryan Sessions with a lovely, blues-y song co-written with Gerry O’Beirne a decade or so ago, and previously recorded on the excellent 2012 album The Plum Tree And The Rose. 

To my ear this version seems a little slower than the previous version, and benefits from the ambience of the venue and perhaps an indefinable maturity of delivery. But judge for yourselves: the video of the single is on YouTube here, while the earlier album and 3-track single (and much else, including the previous singles from the St. Buryan album) can be found on Sarah’s Bandcamp page.

The St. Buryan’s Sessions album is due for release on October 15th 2021: while there are no plans to release any more singles from it, but there may be more videos (Sarah’s YouTube channel is here). I don’t mind either way: I have a copy of the album to look forward to!

David Harley

 

‘Ten Percent Blues’ Album

Now available (and listenable) at Bandcamp.

1. Make It Pay 01:30
2. Butterfly (Over The Hill) 03:43
3. The Road 03:13
4. Anywhere 03:12
5. Ten Percent Blues 03:42
6. Now How Long 03:45
7. Blues For Davy 02:01
8. Baby What A Groove 02:52
9. Another Bangor Day 04:12
10. Long Cigarettes, Cheap Red Wine 04:22
11. Moonstruck 01:30
12. Angel [demo version] 02:15
13. East River 03:07
14. Empty Sunday [demo version] 02:09

You might regard this album title as an over-extended pun. Not only does it include more blues/American-influenced material than my previous albums (though I’m not sure how to quantify the exact percentage), but it also draws some inspiration (if that’s the right word) from life on the road. Though in fact my own time as a professional musician was extremely short, and no agent was getting very fat on ten percent of my income at that time. And at this time of my life, I don’t think I’ll be spending much time playing live again, let alone living in a tour bus.

If I ever belonged to a particular ‘school’ of songwriter, it was probably that very English group that included people like Bill Caddick, Peter Bond, Bernie Parry et al. (Whatever happened to Al?) Still, looking back (as I have been a lot recently) to the songs I’ve written in the last 50-60 years, I suspect that there is enough material there for at least one more album with a fair amount of Americana influence.

Released May 19, 2021

All songs, guitars and vocals by David A. Harley

(c) all rights reserved

The Road [demo]

Early version of a song from the projected album ‘Ten Percent Blues’. And no, it’s not autobiographical: my own short spell on the road ended in the 70s, and I’ve no particular wish to resume that particular phase of my career at my age.

Words and music (c) David A. Harley

It’s late and the driver has nothing to say
One more stop ahead on an endless highway
One more place to be, and nowhere to stay
For the road was the ruin of me

The tour bus, the tranny, the fluffed chords of fame
The days in the airport, the runaway train
You don’t care for my songs and you don’t know my name
For the road was the ruin of me

I was never a drifter, I’d no urge to roam
But somehow the tour bus became my home
The scenery fades and the scene is long gone
And the road was the ruin of me

The smoke and the pipe dream, the whisky, the beer
There’s nothing to treasure and nothing to fear
There’s no one here now to send out for some gear
And the road was the ruin of me

The call of the wild, and the song of the road
The end of the game and the call of the void
There’s no one to meet and there’s nowhere to hide
The road was the ruin of me

The heroes and villains, the bait and the switch
The hole in my sock and the travelling itch
I’ll never be famous, I’ll never be rich
For the road was the ruin of me

I drank much too deep at the wishing well
I knew what I wanted but never could tell
Now I’ve only these dreams and these few words to sell
For the road was the ruin of me

All that I’ve learned is how little I know
All I’ve come home to is a new place to go
And it’s never a place that I wanted to be
For the road was the ruin of me