The ‘Further Off The Record’ album

You might call this my Greatest Hits album, if I’d ever had any hits. It does include the four tracks released so far as singles, though, and most of the tracks are remixed and/or remastered. In fact, these are all songs that have attracted airplay in the UK and/or US, been requested at live events, or had significant numbers of plays where streamed or available in various video and audio formats. And anyway, I like ’em!

Available from Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes etc.  (Link includes excerpts from all tracks.) PR and lyric sheets here: Further Off The Record.

All lyrics by David A. Harley; all music also by me except for ‘Here Tomorrow’, for which the music was written by Don MacLeod. All tracks recorded at Wheal Alice Music except where otherwise noted. All vocals and instruments (guitars, keyboards, bouzouki, banjo, mountain dulcimer) by David A. Harley unless otherwise noted below.

‘Carpentry’ is essentially the tune I wrote for my setting of ‘The Carpenter’s Son’ by A.E. Housman. The lyric to ‘Thomas Anderson’ was based on a 1970s article by the late Ron Nurse for Shrewsbury Folk Club magazine. ‘Long Stand’ and ‘Hands of the Craftsman’ were written for the 1981 revue ‘Nice…if you can get it’. Tracks 1, 2 and 20 were recorded at Hallmark, W1, 5, 10 and 18 at Centre Sound in Camden Town, all in the early 80s.

  1. Heatwave in the City (London 1983) – Piano by James Bolam. No, not that James Bolam.
  2. One Step Away (From the Blues). 2nd acoustic guitar by Don MacLeod, and acoustic 12-string guitar by Bob Theil.
  3. Let Me Lie Easy
  4. Carpentry II
  5. Ten Percent Blues
  6. How to say Goodbye
  7. Same Old Same Old
  8. Thomas Anderson
  9. Paper City
  10. Long Stand
  11. Diane (Going Out)
  12. Wrekin (The Marches Line)
  13. Song of Chivalry
  14. Cornish Ghosts
  15. Coasting
  16. Two is a Silence
  17. Sea Fret
  18. Hands of the Craftsman
  19. Her Own Way Down
  20. Here Tomorrow – Acoustic guitar and piano by Don MacLeod. Percussion by Richard Davy. Additional vocals by Lyn (Anna) Thompson.

New album – ‘Upcountry’

The album ‘Upcountry‘ combines songs that lean towards Americana, blues and even country with more ‘traditional’ material including settings of verse by Housman, Kipling and Yeats, plus a couple of songs about Cornwall, where I now live. All songs by me except where noted.

1. A Smuggler’s Song (Kipling-Harley) 03:14
2. Wearing Out My Shoes 02:26
3. This Guitar (Just Plays The Blues) 02:17
4. Cornish Ghosts 03:39
5. Hannah’s Gone Upcountry 03:44
6. The Road To Frenchman’s Creek 03:27
7. Whistle While You Walk 03:53
8. Janey 03:22
9. Gooseberry Blues 01:48
10. Aftermath/Postcards 05:29
11. Anywhere 03:12
12. A Rainy Day Blues 02:24
13. Tears of Morning (Housman-Harley) 02:46
14. The Wild Swans at Coole (Yeats-Harley) 06:33
15. The Pilgrim (Yeats-Harley) 02:24
16. Woods In Moonlight 05:22

 

Woods in Moonlight – demo

You might call this a sketch for the end of summer… Definitely not intended as the final version. By way of an experiment, the guitar here is tuned to ‘B Standard’, like a baritone guitar.

Backup:

Sometimes your words at midnight stream through my memory
But your face is growing dimmer: I don’t know how it can be
That you’re gone from my life, yet you still haunt my dreams
And daybreak finds me wondering just what it all could mean

Walking through the woods in moonlight, there are no words left to say
I stumble blindly through the shadow as the long years slip away
And only now I realize that it’s too late to count the cost
And I can only write those words to make my peace with those I’ve lost

So many nights lost, lamenting all the days
Opportunity knocked, but that same night it ran away
Your voice in my ear, your breath upon my skin
Closer than sweat, warmer than sin

Another morning broken, and reconstruction fails
Once more my train of thought has gone completely off the rails
But soon the world will turn without us, and new days won’t be broken
By the words we should have said or the ones best left unspoken

Crossing the Bar – demo 2

Backup:

I’ve posted a guitar-accompanied version of Tennyson’s poem before, but it suddenly occurred to me in the middle of the night that it might sound nice with a free-reed accompaniment. Since I don’t play concertina etc., I had to fake it with a Yamaha keyboard.

Needs work!

David A. Harley

New album – Kitsch and Canoodle

Available, as ever, on Bandcamp.

Kitsch and Canoodle

David A. Harley

Songs of love, lust and obsession. Come to think of it, that probably accounts for my entire output.

All vocals and instruments by David A. Harley. Words and music for all songs by David A. Harley except ‘Quirks and Crotchets’, for which Alan Doyle wrote the tune, and ‘Back in the Day’, for which Alison Pittaway wrote the lyrics. Cover photograph by Jude Harley.

  1. Let Me Lie Easy
  2. A Rainy Day Blues
  3. Please
  4. Quirks and Crotchets (Doyle-Harley)
  5. This Guitar Just Plays The Blues 2021
  6. Her Own Way Down
  7. Back In The Day (Pittaway-Harley)
  8. This End of the 1960s
  9. Can’t Sleep
  10. Never Look Back
  11. New Ends and Sad Beginnings
  12. Two Is A Silence
  13. The Jailer
  14. What Do I Do?
  15. Song Without Warning

Wheal Alice Music WAM21-11

White Noise – demo

A second song for which Alan Doyle provided a tune and added some words. 🙂 I think this will probably have a fairly synth-y feel when I’ve learned it properly, but while it obviously needs polishing, this will be the basic shape.

By Alan Doyle and David Harley

Backup:

The puppet master has turned his back
On the farewell appearance of the men in black
But he can’t stop thinking ’bout the shape he’s in
Heavy water seeping through his skin

Input/output all of the time
There’s only white noise out there on the line

He’s got the moves, but he’s worn so thin
He tried to be polite, but they cut his strings
His voice is rusty and his chords are crude
His fingers are raw and his head is screwed

Input/output all of the time
There’s only white noise out there on the line

White noise [white noise] in the air
White noise [white noise] everywhere
White noise [white noise] all around
White noise [white noise] the only sound

His skin is crawling, his resistance is low
There’s an overload building with nowhere to go
The feedback generates so much heat
He’s got to boost his signal out in the street

Input/output all of the time
There’s only white noise out there on the line

….There’s only white noise at the end of the line

David Harley

 

Quirks and Crotchets demo

This is a collaboration with Alan Doyle, who wrote the tune and tweaked my lyrics. 🙂

I’m planning to include a cleaner (I mean better recorded, not less obscene!) version of this on a forthcoming album called ‘Kitsch and Canoodle’, but this is probably most of the way there.

Two lost souls living in a bedsit
Lying there back to back
She’s close to weeping, he pretends he’s sleeping
But he’s wondering what to pack
Someone needs to say ‘sorry’
But it seems that it won’t be him
They want to be happy, but they’d rather be right
So the chances of that are slim

Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go 
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right
Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right

Two lost souls standing by the bus stop
Neither finding words to say
He’s packed up his troubles in his old rucksack
But no one’s smiling today
Someone needs to say ‘sorry’
But neither seems to want to know
They want to be happy, but they’d rather be right
Instead of flattening the bumps in the road

Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go 
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right
Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right

Two old dears standing in the bus queue
Neither has a lot to say
He’s got the shopping and she’s got his arm
So it must have worked out OK
And they’ve learned to live with each other’s quirks and crotchets
And the angry words that quickly lose their bite
They wanted to be happy, and they want to be right
But they’ve learned to put the past behind

Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go 
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right
Sometimes it’s OK just to let it all go
And it really doesn’t matter who’s right
It really doesn’t matter who’s right

David Harley

New album – Cold Iron

Yes, I know it’s not a good sales strategy to put out so many albums so close together, but I’m trying to get this stuff out there, and not really expecting to make my fortune at this time of my life.

All music by David A. Harley. The author of the 18th century lyric to ‘They Hang The Man’ is unknown, and the words to ‘Nowhere to Nowhere’ were written by Alison Pittaway. Piano on ‘London 1983’ by James Bolam. All vocals and other instruments by David A. Harley.

All rights reserved.

Here’s the album: Cold Iron

And here’s the track ‘For Phil Ochs’ which is in a way the foundation stone of the album:

Anyway, here are what would be the sleeve notes if I was releasing it as a physical album.

I suppose you could say that all songs are ‘social comment’ – I don’t care for the term ‘protest’ since I associate it with the 1960s phenomenon of well-fed pop singers whining about plastic people and how awful everything is – but I’ve always leaned towards songs that weren’t exclusively about ‘my girl friend left me’.. Still, I never felt I had to distinguish between ‘love songs’ – perhaps we should say songs about people and their relationships – and songs with a wider topical resonance. If a song demands to be written, I don’t take no notice because it’s in the ‘wrong’ genre or context.

Still, I had some difficulty in placing a couple of the songs in this collection because they’re ‘folkier’ – OK, acapella – than most of my output. So I finally went for an album of songs that fit together because they’re more about social comment and less about personal relationships (fictional and otherwise). That doesn’t, of course, mean they don’t fit into other contexts. Some have already been released on other albums, and others are likely to be in the future.

The album’s title comes from a poem by Kipling, though his conclusion in that poem, and indeed his politics in general, often diverge from my own convictions. On the other hand, I think he would have agreed with the relationship between iron as a foundation of weaponry and iron as a symbol or element of the supernatural.

Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid —
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
“Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
“But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of them all.”

And here’s the tracklist.

  1. London 1983 (Harley) 06:28
  2. They Hang The Man (Anonymous-Harley) 01:43
  3. Song of Chivalry II (Harley) 03:58
  4. Nowhere To Nowhere (Pittaway-Harley) 02:11
  5. Soldier (You Come, You Go) (Harley) 01:06
  6. Long Stand (Harley) 03:00
  7. Orpheus and his Loot (Harley) 01:51
  8. For Phil Ochs (Harley) 05:35
  9. Calvary (Soldier of Fortune) (Harley) 01:30
  10. Paper City (Harley) 05:25
  11. Hands of the Craftsman (Harley) 05:35
  12. Jerry Jingalo (Harley) 01:06
  13. Circle (Harley) 08:14
  14. Diane (Going Out) (Harley) 05:19
  15. Paper Tiger (Harley) 02:37

 

David Harley

 

Old White Lightning demo (revisited)

[backup]

Ancient version remastered (somewhat). I don’t currently sing this one, but if I did these are probably the words I’d use.

I went down to see my lady
But someone spread the news all over town
I said ‘I don’t mind what you call me,
But won’t you keep your sweet voice down?’
Might have been old white lightning
Might have been old sloe gin
Might have been barley, or it might have been malt
But it’s really done me in

If I go back to see my lady
I know just where she’s at
She’s got an ice-pack for my aching head
And an ice-pick for my back
Might have been old Sal Stacey
Might have been Lucy-Lynne
Might have been Lisa, might have been Liz
But she really did me in

I think I’ll steer my feet to the river
Marking time to the thump in my head
I think I might just die of too much wine
And it’ll save you changing the bed
Might have been smack or cocaine
Petrol or paraffin
Might have been Bostik or North Sea gas
But I swear it’s done me in

David Harley