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.

Backup:

David Harley

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]

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

Weeping Willow (Corrina)

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

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

Bootup Blues (Big Blues) [2019 demo]

When I woke up this morning
My laptop wouldn’t boot at all
I said I woke up this morning
And tossed my Tosh against the wall
My baby took the mains adapter and the battery’s screwed beyond recall

Well she left me for some guy
With a 99GHz overclocked PC
And now she’s interfacing
With his RS232C
(he’s a serial womanizer)
She said my hard disk was too small
To satisfy
Her new spreadsheet

I wouldn’t treat an iPad
The way that woman treated me
She fragmented my hard disk
And ran off with my Angry Birds DVD
Left me nothing but this boot sector virus
And a copy of Wordstar version 3.3

Dah-diddy-dah-diddy-dah-diddy-dah….

You can get some idea of how old this thing is from the fact that the iPad was originally an Amstrad, and the Angry Birds DVD was originally a 7th Guest Cd. It’s hard keeping up with technology. Hopefully, I’m still ahead of the curve on PC CPU specs, Moore’s Law (or House’s variant) and overclocking notwithstanding. The reference to RS232C is slightly disingenuous: RS-232-C is the 1969 version of the standard, not hardware. I wouldn’t have mentioned any of this if it weren’t for a ludicrous conversation in a pub with someone who apparently thought I was setting PC for Dummies to music rather than writing a mildly amusing blues parody. And to the guy who recommended that I use Sophos to deal with my imaginary boot sector virus, thanks for the suggestion, but I did at the time actually work – or, strictly speaking, consult – for a(nother) anti-virus company, and I had it covered.

David Harley

Unnamed slide piece demo

Update: this has now acquired a name and an updated version – ‘Box of Blue‘.

A piece so new and raw it doesn’t even have a name. I was basically just goofing around with a Maj7 tuning that I thought might have possibilities.

Hopefully, at some point the piece will turn up here better and more tightly executed (and with a proper name). In fact, I even have a set of words that might fit it. But this version is just here so that I don’t forget about it.

David Harley