Odd Job Man

Words & music (c) David Harley

Backup:

I haven’t actually done this with slide guitar in decades, but I found this version on a cassette and quite liked it. Even though it leaves out my favourite verse.

Words & Music by David Harley: all rights reserved

I’m an odd job man, I work by day and night
I’m an odd job man, I work by day and night
I’m a handy-doodle-dandy and my dovetails fit just right.

I’m a Do-It-Yourself demon, got the tool for every use
I’m a D-I-Y demon, got the tool for every use
I’ve got an A1 set of drivers when your screws are working loose

I’ve got the brace and the bit to drill just where you need
Gotta brace, got a bit, I can drill just where you need
I’ve the angle and the rhythm, satisfaction guaranteed

I’ve got the switches and the cable and my fuses never blow
Gotta jack for every socket and my connections never blow
When I overhaul your wiring just lay back and watch her go

I’m an odd job man, on the job just when you please
I’m an odd job man, fix it anywhere you please
If your hardware’s getting rusty, just let me slip you some grease

A 12-bar reflecting my long-standing interest in Do-it-Yourself. Though I hear it’s more fun if you don’t have to do it all yourself. Ahem.

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…

Six White Horses (traditional)

A slide instrumental based on the song known as ‘One Kind Favor’ or ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’, first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson. It probably derives ultimately (and quite remotely) from a mournful Victorian ballad by Gus Williams called ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Green’. There is a recording of the ballad by the Carter Family, who also recorded something closer to the bluesier song as ‘Sad And Lonesome Day’.

Backup:

David Harley

Ten Percent Blues [demo]

Words & music by David Harley: all rights reserved

Recorded in the 80s using slide guitar: this version, though, has no slide. Dropped D tuning.

Backup copy

 

This is the studio-recorded slide version:

backup

 

 

YouTube video version played in dropped D, no slide. From 2020.

audio capture:

Backup:

Got a seat facing the engine
So I don’t have to face where I’ve been
Luggage on the rack, no reason to look back
At all my wrecked and reckless gypsy dreams
No more bright lights, no more white lines
Or crashing in the back of the van
No more hustling small-time gigs
I guess time has beaten the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home

Got a ticket to take me to tomorrow
It can’t be worse than today
So driver, take me home and don’t spare the horsepower
I’m on a ten year holiday
No more missed chances and chickens*t advances
Cold chips in the back of the van
No more blown tires and fuses, no more broken promises
Time has beaten the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home

No more spotlights, no more ups and downers
Absolutely no stage fright
No more superstar fantasies
From today I’m strictly 9-5
No more infighting, no more moonlighting
No more one-night stands
All along while the band was beating time
I guess time was beating the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home

 

Unnamed slide instrumental

Having tried heavier bronze strings on my resonator, I found myself trying for something a little different in the way of a slide instrumental. This doesn’t have a title as yet and will change as I get to know it, but I really rather like it as it is.

Just played into a microphone: nothing subtle in the way of manipulation, and I haven’t yet tried connecting it via its pickup. It’s a Gretsch Bobtail, if anyone cares…

David Harley

Low In The Water [demo]

Backup:

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…

Backup:

 

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

Weeping Willow (Corrina)

I’m pretty sure I’ve recorded this before, but the guitar is better on this version, I think.

remastered:

backup:

This is a song I learned from Michael Cooney many decades ago. He told me recently that he learned it partly from Guy Carawan and partly from Bess Lomax Hawes, but had changed it around a lot. As have I (not least by making a slide piece out of it). It’s the folk process, folks. I particularly like the last verse, which also occurs in Robert Brown’s ‘James Alley Blues’ and Judy Roderick’s ‘Born In The Country’, which is based on Brown’s song.

David Harley

Paper City 2019 [demo]

There is a studio recording of this which is more rock ‘n’ roll, but I haven’t really done it in public since the disbanding of the Flying Piglets (yeah, I know, but the name wasn’t my idea…) so I thought I’d try a new arrangement. Needs work, but I think it will be OK.

Here’s the 1980s version: vocals, acoustic and slide by me.

Backup:

I woke up with my mind’s eye facing your direction:
I looked hard and I saw you needed help.
You’re choking on paper and tape and legislation,
But you can’t produce one thing to help yourself.

Paper city at the heart of a paper empire:
You’ve got strings to pull, you’ve got wires all over the earth.
Sky-climbing parasite, concrete and paper jungle,
You’ve got money to burn, but I know you’d rather freeze to death.

You’ve got stacks of stocks and shares and bonds:
You’ve got telephone and telex,databank and dateline too.
But you can’t produce as much as one lead pencil,
Or a bar of soap, or a rubber band to pull you through.

The media twitch at the flash of a freemason’s handshake:
Speeches are made and the punters gather round;
Paper politicians and faceless company men,
Taking the pulse of an ailing paper pound.

I bet you know just what you’re worth on paper:
When the market crumbles, what will that do to you?
A lot of cold people don’t own the earth they lie in:
Will you be all right in your green-lined paper tomb?

Paper city at the heart of a bankrupt empire:
Your towers get higher as your assets hit new lows.
Nose-diving parasite, I wouldn’t mind you dying,
But you’ll take so many with you when you go.

Copyright David Harley 1982