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…
Music (c) David Harley, who played acoustic guitar, resonator guitar and electric guitars through the magic of overdubbing. Both electric guitar parts feature a Line 6 Variax. I can’t remember what guitar the first electric voice emulates, but the second was a Coral Sitar emulation. Photographs (c) Jude and David Harley: mostly from Stonehenge and York.
The recording was remixed for the video.
Not often I do a genuine(-ish) folk song… (It sounds composed, maybe in the 19th century?) Instrumental version of a song collected by Carl Sandburg in Missouri. Combines two close variants of the tune. He apparently called it The Sad Song, which indeed it is. The words are the subject of much discussion on Mudcat: maybe 19th century, maybe significantly older. The tune reminds me slightly of The Furze Field, but I think that’s a little too upbeat to go from one to the other.
Guitar and resonator guitars are all me. Isn’t technology wonderful?
MP3 backup on this site:
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.
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…
If you’re unfortunate enough to have heard a lot of me in the last 30 years or so, the chances are you’ve heard this song. This is the version we recorded in the 1980s for an album that was never released. I’ve put it up here and there before, but this is a cleaner version. Unfortunately, I only had an imperfect cassette recording to work from, so there’s more noise than I’d like. But the mix is reasonably good, and I’ve remastered it here as best I could, given my unreliable hearing and unimpressive engineering skills.
- Vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar: David Harley
- Acoustic lead guitar: Don MacLeod
- Acoustic 12-string guitar: Bob Theil
Improvised slide piece that reminds me a little of John Fahey.
I’m ashamed to say I’m not well acquainted with the work of John Fahey, though I have occasionally played ‘The Death of the Clayton Peacock’ which I learned, I think, from a guitar anthology album. Even the way I play ‘Poor Boy/Vestapol’ ultimately derives from Stefan Grossman rather than either Fahey or Robert Wilkins. But that’s another story.
This is actually an improvisation (which started as a sort of pseudo-air in D-modal but somehow moved to a slide piece in Csus2), but it reminded me a little of the Fahey tracks I heard in the 70s. And now I think I’m going to have to start listening to him again.
Slightly tighter version than previously, played on resonator guitar.
Copyright David Harley, 2017.