‘Carpentry’ remastered.

Remastered version, but I’m still not happy with the sound quality. I’m afraid I might have to go back to the beginning on this one.

Copyright David Harley, 1976. All rights reserved.

This is an instrumental version of my setting from a poem from ‘A Shropshire Lad’. The song was originally intended to be sung unaccompanied, but it somehow developed a guitar accompaniment with a slight Middle Eastern feel, and the first section is very much based on that.

The faster second section was meant to have a more medieval feel, and includes  overdubbed dulcimer and bouzouki. Cittern would have been more appropriate, perhaps, but I didn’t have one to hand. Strangely, it seems to have finished up sounding a bit like the Philip Glass Ensemble (but with much less time between changes), but I like it.

David Harley

Faintly Fahey / Fainter Fahey remastered

This guitar piece started as a sort of fake Irish air in DADGAD but somehow became a slide guitar piece in Csus2 tuning (if I remember rightly), by way of one or two other tunings I can’t remember right now. Or maybe the slide version came first. Anyway, I can’t quite decide which way I prefer it. But there’s no reason I can’t keep them both in the repertoire (though I’ll need to practice them a bit before I do them in front of a real audience again).

Here’s the slide version, which acquired the title ‘Fainter Fahey’. Not that I’m as well acquainted with John Fahey’s work as I ought to be, but when I played the first demo version back, it reminded me vaguely of ‘The Death Of The Clayton Peacock’, even though the tune and tempo are completely different.

Here’s the other version. It didn’t have a title originally, but it’s now called ‘Faintly Fahey’ because it’s pretty much the same tune as the other, but not very Fahey-like bereft of its slide context.

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