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

Wearing out my shoes [remastered]

Having resented it for decades when people have told me that I’m ‘influenced’ by Bert Jansch – I’m sure I’ve been influenced by many people, and I’d love to be able to play some of Bert’s songs, though there are only a couple I’ve ever sung – but I haven’t intentionally copied anyone in many decades. While I’m still in awe of his guitar-playing, I’m a songwriter with my own voice and guitar technique, and I tend to think that when people want to pigeonhole you as ‘copying’ someone else, that’s either just laziness or a bad case of ‘you’re no better than me, you’re just a copyist…’

Anyway, I was rather surprised to revisit this and notice that the vocal here was quite Jansch-ish in places. Especially as Bert didn’t actually do a lot of blues, that I remember: maybe I’d been listening to the album (‘Nicola’) on which he did do a lyrically weird version of Corinna/Weeping Willow and a slightly more conventional ‘Come Back Baby’. That said, the guitar here sounds quite John Renbourn/Wizz Jones, rather than Jansch – I think I hear a little bit of Al Jones there, too – but with some tropes I’m pretty sure are all mine … But I’m certainly not ashamed of it, and probably couldn’t match it nowadays.

The words are quite blues-pastiche, but not based on any older song in particular. Not a song I’d write now, but I think it works OK. Recorded on domestic equipment in the early 80s, though I’m pretty sure I was already singing it in the mid-70s, around the time I started singing much more of my own stuff. .

David Harley



Adventures in Video – Painting the Desert

I don’t have technical skills to generate sophisticated animations and such, and I’d rather not flood the world with too many live videos of variable quality. But some recordings seem to fit OK with a series of photographs. Well, to my ear and eye, anyway. ‘Painting the Desert’ is actually an improvised slide guitar piece accompanied by photographs from a drive through the Painted Desert in Arizona, from when we followed up a work trip to the Bay Area and San Diego with a version of the Grand Circle Road Trip including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, as well as Sedona, Oak Canyon and so on. I have a feeling that I’ll eventually find a use for some of the photos from those attractions, too. In the meantime…

David Harley

Six White Horses (traditional)

An instrumental version of a song also known as ‘One Kind Favour’ or ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ – not the Carter Family song with the latter title, though.


David Harley

Blues for Davy revisited

Music (c) David Harley

While I’m often accused of trying to sound like Bert Jansch, it was actually Dav(e)y Graham I wanted to sound like before I realized I was a better songwriter than guitarist and concentrated on the songs instead of instrumental technique.

‘Blues for Davy’ is a short guitar piece I used to play a lot in the 80s, trying to get some of that jazz feel that informed so much of what he did, though it was actually quite a formal piece. This is an extended version with a lot more improvisational content. While I don’t think my rheumaticky hands will ever let me call myself a jazz guitarist with any degree of conviction, it worked much better than I expected, especially for a spur-of-the-moment one-take version. I might come back to it adding a second guitar at some point.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to play it live, though.

David Harley

A Rainy-Day Blues revisited

Words and Music (c) David Harley

A cleaner recording than the previous audio version.

And here’s a video, this time played on electric guitar.


Earlier versions:

This is a version with just basic guitar:

This is the same version with some overdubbed bouzouki: an instrument I’ve only recently added to my arsenal, so not very well executed, but I think it might go quite well with a bit of work. Maybe different lead instruments for each break…

And here’s a more recent version, slightly rearranged.

David Harley

Dying of Communication [remastered]

Words & music (c) David Harley

Sitting it out at the full moon
Reading my mail from the next room
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Checking it out with the radio
Late late news is ‘no place to go’
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Sitting it out in the bathroom
Freaked out on ego juice
Fighting it out in the bedroom
Wondering what’s the use
Everyone knows we’re dying
Dying of communication

Low In The Water [demo]

This is a somewhat misogynistic song I’ve never sung in public, perhaps in case someone assumed it was autobiographical. But since I was quite enjoying playing slide again…

Here’s a much older electric version, recorded on much cheaper equipment…

Early in the morning
Shaking in my shoes
Coming down with cherry fever
And the rotgut brown ale blues

I’m low in the water
I’m low in the water
I’m low in the water
But I ain’t sinking yet

Another Sunday morning
Another one night stand
One more passing shipwreck
Drowning on dry land

And I don’t know how I got here
But thank you for the ride
I’ll see you somewhere sometime
If I don’t have time to hide

Singing for your supper
Isn’t half the fun it seems
It’s a pint or five of courage
And a box of broken dreams

David Harley

Oh Death [demo]

Not sure the world needs my version of this, but playing with an arrangement anyway, in case I ever take the resonator out in public again… Recorded by Charley Patton and Bertha Lee in 1934. There’s a better than halfway-decent version by Jo-Ann Kelly and Tony McPhee, too. There’s a John Renbourn song with the same name, by the way, but that’s very different.

David Harley