Selective Symmetry CD

Selective Symmetry: a CD by David Harley

Wheal Alice Music WAM01-17

[This page is under construction, though the CD is about done. In due course, this page will include links to lyrics and further information.]


  1. Carpentry (Harley) 2.27
  2. True Confessions (MacLeod-Harley)* 5.14
  3. Let Me Lie Easy (Harley) 2.36
  4. One Step Away (Harley)** 4.54
  5. Heatwave (Harley)*** 7.14
  6. Her Own Way Down (Harley) 2.50
  7. Time On My Hands (Harley) 2.22
  8. Two Is A Silence (Harley) 2.23
  9. Thomas Anderson (Nurse-Harley) 5.11


David Harley: vocals; lead/acoustic/electric/slide guitars; keyboards; bouzouki; banjo; mountain dulcimer.

*With Don MacLeod (acoustic guitar, piano)
**With Don MacLeod, 2nd acoustic guitar; Bob Theil, 12-string guitar.
***With James Bolam, piano.
All three recorded at Hallmark, London circa 1982. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the mastertapes, last heard of in Antwerp with Bob, so taken from a cassette recording: under the circumstances, surprisingly good…

Other tracks recorded at the highly mobile Wheal Alice.

About the songs

Carpentry is an instrumental version of my setting of Housman’s The Carpenter’s Son. The first part is solo guitar masquerading as something like a desert lute, the overdubbed final section tries for a more medieval feel. This will probably return in some form as part of a suite of Housman settings.

True Confessions, One Step Away (From The Blues) and Heatwave were all recorded for the unreleased anthology album ‘Diverse Brew’, which would have featured tracks from Bob Theil, Don MacCleod, Bob Cairns, and Pat Orchard and myself.

  • True Confessions was actually one of Don’s tracks – he wrote the tune and I wrote the words – but I took the lead guitars and vocals, which is more or less how we did it live. Additional vocals from Lin (Anna) Thompson, with whom I worked as duo at that time, and piano from Don.
  • Heatwave is less a historical statement than an impression of the desperation and paranoia of living in London in the 1980s. James Bolam (not the actor) added some piano.
  • One Step Away has nothing to do with Roger Tillison’s One Step Ahead Of The Blues. (That’s a great song, though, recorded by both J.J. Cale and Chris Spedding. Perhaps I’ll learn it one day.) Additional guitars from Don and Bob on this one.

Let Me Lie Easy and Her Own Way Down are lapses into folk-rock(-ish) and country(-ish) respectively. Like Time On My Hands they hark back to the 70s (though all were only recently recorded). Two Is A Silence is a sort of folk/country hybrid that I wrote in the 80s.

Thomas Anderson is unusually folky (for me). It derives from an article by Ron Nurse for the Shrewsbury Folk Club magazine in the early 1970s, about the guilds in Shrewsbury (hence another bash at a medieval feel to the instrumentation) and a later casualty of the Jacobite Rebellion.

All Words and Music © David Harley except for 2 and 9.
Illustration ‘Merced River’© by David Harley


True Confessions (by Don MacLeod and David Harley)

Let me lie easy

I don’t want to hear that the show must go on
I know that the world keeps on turning
But how can you ask me to rise with the lark
With this pain in my heart still burning?

Let me lie easy, let me lie late
Let me lie low, let the world wait
Let me lie easy, let me lie lie late
Please let me sleep till it’s over

The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn
The dogs call in vain for their master
Just give me a while to untangle my threads
And Little Boy Blue will come after

The summer’s near gone and the year’s on the wane
The harvest stands ripened and wasting
Just give me an hour to unscramble my head
And I promise I’ll not keep you waiting

One Step Away


Her own way down

Time on my hands

Two is a silence

Thomas Anderson