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

Dives & Lazarus / The Butterfly

A remastered version of an instrumental recorded in an 8-track studio in the 80s, originally as the playout for a song called ‘The Weekends’, which was put to the same ‘Dives & Lazarus’ tune. I need to re-record that song, though. When I say remastered, I’m stretching a point. I don’t have the mix tapes, so could only tweak the mastered version as best I could.

Unfortunately, the mastertapes from those sessions didn’t survive very well. They were restored by baking(no, really) to enable the tracks to be transferred to CD, but the quality was still not what it should be, especially on the slip jig. In particular, the fiddle is harsh and the bodhrán muffled, but it is what it is.

Guitars by me, fiddle by Pete Wilkes, bodhrán by Gail Williams, who also sang the original version of ‘Weekends’, but the vocal track is just too damaged.

Blackwaterside [demo]

This isn’t a song I can really do justice to vocally, but after discussing arrangements with a friend a few months ago, I thought it would be nice to work on an instrumental arrangement. To be honest, I’ve cheated a little, since this is basically the accompaniment to a version I was working up with Sally Goddard last year – we might even get to play it in public somewhere this year! – with some extra ornamentation.

Sally previously recorded it with Atlantic Union in a much more rhythmic version which uses a variation on the tune most people sing. This takes it back to a much slower reading, but does use that variation in the tune.

This is in DADGAD: I was trying out a version in standard tuning a few months ago that I quite liked. I’ll have to take another look at that, but I think this would be pretty good too, with a bit more practice.

David Harley

Quartet for One [demo]

This does not get its name because I’m arrogant enough to believe that I’m the only person in the world capable of playing this as a guitar solo. (I can imagine John Renbourn choking on his ambrosia at this moment at the very thought.)

What actually happened is that I was watching ‘Quartet’ on the TV – a dangerous exercise, because it always makes me wish I had a more operatic voice (or even a bearable voice) – and when it finished, I needed a little more music, so I picked up a guitar. I liked the somewhat random thing I found myself playing so much that I wandered back into the office and switched on the recording gear, and was in the zone for at least five minutes.

It will require editing and further polishing (and possibly an overdub or two), but I think it has a lot of potential. I was playing my Baby Taylor in Nashville tuning.

Replacement version: a bit tighter, but it could still be (quite a lot) shorter.

David Harley