Posted by: David Harley | July 21, 2012

Index to Words & Music Pages

[12th May 2014 update] Verse and music on this page are slowly being transferred to different blogs, imaginatively entitled David Harley’s Songs and David Harley’s Verse, and in fact there’s already a whole more information there. If you’re only interested in the security-related stuff, you might want to shoot over to my Small Blue-Green World page.

Contact email: info[at]

Here’s a close-to-full list of the other Small Blue-Green blogs:

I suppose you could call this my vanity site. It’s maintained as a resource for my music and for writing that isn’t (usually) directly connected to my ‘real’ job  as an IT security author/consultant. (If you’re actually interested in the security stuff, see the links at the end of this post.) Just to be clear, none of this material is in the public domain, and all rights are reserved. I hope you enjoy listening to/reading it but if you actually want to use it in any commercial context, unlikely as that may sound, you are honour-bound and legally required to ask me first: you can email me at info[at] Or via Small Blue-Green World, which is me wearing my business head.   

Recording Sessions:

Diverse Brew Sessions:

  1. One Step Away From The Blues
  2. True Confessions
  3. Heatwave

Scriptwrecked Sessions

Sheer Bravado Cassette:

  1. Long Stand
  2. Speak My Heart
  3. The Weekends
  4. Dives and Lazarus
  5. The Butterfly (slip jig)
  6. Paper City
  7. Sheer Bravado
  8. View From The Top
  9. She’s Gone
  10. So Much For Romance
  11. Circle
  12. Blues For Davy

More recent recordings (not commercial quality): as of 12th May 2014, the listings for this are somewhat out of date.

Songs Without Music:

Demo Recordings

Quick and dirty recordings of songs I hope to revisit and spend more time on a better version. Home-recorded on BOSS digital gear which I hope to have time to learn to use properly Real Soon Now. Just one song – Bootup Blues – there at the moment, though two of the recordings added to the Songs Without Music page also qualify and will probably get moved shortly:

Settings of poems (unaccompanied demo versions)

Other Writing

Miscellaneous Prose

Verse or Worse

Folk Resources

At the moment, this page consists of a floor-singer’s tipsheet a number of us compiled in the late 1990s, and a reference to a later version – not sure where that comes from, but it wasn’t me. As I seem to spending a lot of time with old folkies these days, it may be that other things might find their way onto this page in due course.

Parodies Regained

…could have been a separate page here, I suppose, but it isn’t, for historical reasons. Anyway, here’s a list of what’s there at present:

Security-related publications

Security-related publications aren’t kept on this site now. Most of my recent papers are available or linked from the ESET resources pages including white papers, conference papers, and articles for external publications and sites. Mac and other Apple-related resources are mostly kept at the Mac Virus site. Some other papers and information on some of my security books can be found on the Small Blue-Green World blog page.

Posted by: David Harley | July 31, 2015

Down to the River

Down to the River: copyright David Harley, 1981

Another example of the sort of song I never write. I’m not really sure where this one came from. When I was singing with Anna (Lyn) Thompson in the 80s we were going to work this one up as a duet, but never really got to it. So I pretty much forgot about it until today, which means that this is a very rough-and-ready demo. But I certainly intend to get back to it.

I won’t go down to the river/anyway not yet
There’s too much else to do and the water’s cold/and I don’t want my feet wet
Don’t want to get my feet wet

I won’t go down to the river/I guess I really should
But the sand’s so warm between my toes/and you know it feels so good
I know it does me good

Come on down to the river/it can’t do you harm
You’ve got to learn sometime to sink or swim/and the sun will keep you warm
The sun will keep you warm

I won’t go down to the river/you know I can’t go down
The water’s so still, the sides so steep/I’m scared that I might drown
So scared that I might drown

Come on down to the river/the road’s so hard and rough
If you keep your head and your hands are clean/surely you can’t drown in love?
You can’t drown in love

I can’t go down to the river/I surely can’t go down
My soul is parched but my body aches/and I just know I’ll drown
I know I’ll surely drown

Come on down to the river/it tastes so sweet and cold
Come on down before it gets too late/and wash the mud out of your soul
The mud out of your soul

We’ve got to get on down to the river/we have to learn to trust
Got to wash away all the doubt and fear before the whole damn’ world dries up
Before the world dries up

We’ve got to wash away all the doubt and fear/before the whole damn’ world dries up…

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

Posted by: David Harley | July 24, 2015

Ghosts [demo]

I’m not saying I’m a slow writer, but this set of words is at least a quarter of a century old, and even though I had a vague idea of how I wanted the tune to go, I only just got around to trying to put them together. Hopefully, in another 25 years I’ll have learned it well enough to record it properly.

Posted by: David Harley | July 2, 2015

Unknown tune

Doesn’t even qualify as a demo. This tune popped into my head yesterday from some deep dark recess of memory. I’d quite like to work it up as a guitar piece, but I suspect I haven’t remembered it correctly and I have no recollection of its name. Perhaps one of my folky friends can remind me?

Posted by: David Harley | May 24, 2015

Rain revisited

Posted by: David Harley | May 24, 2015

The water is wide [demo]

The world is not short of recordings of this very popular song. This is a variation on an instrumental version I recently rediscovered, having performed it quite a lot in the 70s. I plan to use a more polished version in a recording project.

David Harley


Posted by: David Harley | May 24, 2015

Salley Gardens

I’ve heard too many gorgeously sung versions of this to add my own indifferent vocals to the pot, but I do want to include it in a recording project, so this is a sketch for an instrumental version. It needs work, of course – it’s much too busy at the moment – but I think there are possibilities here. It fits because I’m planning to include a couple of my own Yeats settings. However, the well-known melody used here doesn’t need replacing by any tune of mine. :)


After I wrote a review of the CD ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (by Michael Raven and Joan Mills), in which I specifically mentioned that Michael had set When I Was One and Twenty to the tune better known as Brigg Fair, I had a thought. I mentioned in passing in that article that the theme of the poem is not dissimilar to that of the Yeats poem (based on an imperfectly remembered folk song) Down By The Salley Gardens. The Yeats poem was published in 1889, and A Shropshire Lad was published in 1896, so it’s very likely that Housman knew the Yeats poem, though for all I know, he may have written his own poem before he came upon Salley Gardens. I’m not sure it matters all that much: I’m not doing a PhD thesis. :)

Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.

In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.

Anyway, a quick turn around the fretboard demonstrates that the melody Maids of Mourne Shore, the one most commonly associated with Down By The Salley Gardens since Hughes used it for his setting in 1909, would also work with When I was One and Twenty. As would any of the other tunes associated with or set to the Yeats poem, I guess. Oddly enough, the melody to The Rambling Boys of Pleasure, usually assumed to be the song that Yeats was trying to recreate, probably wouldn’t work so well, at any rate without some modification to accommodate the length of the lines. According to the music historian A.V. Butcher, Butterworth‘s setting to One and Twenty was related to a folk melody, but which one is unknown. Certainly the setting doesn’t ring any bells with me.

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | May 24, 2015

Thomas Anderson [demo]

Words & Music by David Harley and Ron Nurse, 1975. All rights reserved. 

Based on an article by Ron Nurse for the Shrewsbury Folk Club magazine written in the 1960s. I believe his source material was in the Shrewsbury Chronicle archives. Sadly, I hear that Ron recently passed on, but I was at least able to sing the song in his presence, tell the story, and shake his hand at a Shrewsbury Folk Club reunion last year. I transcribed Ron’s article for my Shropshire Blues blog – which has a lot to do with Shropshire, but not very much to do with blues or even cheese – in this article: Black Velvet (article from Shrewsbury folk club magazine, 1973)

This is the latest version, though not yet ready for the CD. :)

This is a home-recorded demo version that’s actually in better shape than the CentreSound  version. I definitely intend to come back and do it a full studio-quality version at some point. Thomas Anderson MP3 

The discarded 1980′s studio version didn’t have first verse, had an alarming pre-echo in places, harshly recorded fiddle, and a so-so flute part. (I have no idea where that came from: I don’t remember working with a flautist on those sessions.) So I’ve abandoned it. 

This is a detail from the Shoemakers Arbour, in Shrewsbury Dingle, showing the somewhat dilapidated Crispin and Crispian (the latter more commonly known as Crispinian):


Crispin and Crispinian are the patron saints of cobblers, tanners and leatherworkers. One version of their story is that they were executed in the third century AD for preaching Christianity to the Gauls, while earning their crust as shoemakers. An alternative version associates them with Kent (and Faversham in particular).

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour

High above the river on Kingsland we stood
On the gate to the hall of the shoemakers’ guild
Where the bakers, the tailors, the butchers, the smiths
And the saddlers too their guild arbours built.
Each year in procession the guilds gave a show
And marched through the town to the sound of the drum:
Then it’s back to Kingsland to feast and carouse
And enjoy the great day the guild members come.

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour

On the 10th of June 1752
In a house called The Crown that stood on Pride Hill
John Richards’ workmen received a week’s pay
And there they stayed and drank their fill.
When a redcoat patrol chanced to pass by
The men  mocked and reviled them with Jacobite songs
And who struck the first blow no-one was sure
But a bloody riot soon raged through the town.

The authorities trembled with passion and fear
When news of this Jacobite outburst was known
For the House of Hanover had won few hearts
And the Stuarts still plotted to win back the throne.
And so that same year, one raw day in December,
The rebellious townsfolk of Salop looked on
While below the old arch of the Shoemaker’s Arbour
They made an example of Tom Anderson

Who was once spared by death on the field of Culloden
Then joined the dragoons but deserted, they say,
Only to die on the banks of the Severn
By firing squad on a cold Winter’s day.
When the black velvet suit was stripped from his body
The Chevalier’s colours were beneath it, it’s said,
Received from the hands of Bonny Prince Charlie
Whose cause like young Thomas is broken and dead.

For it’s 200 years since Bonny Prince Charlie
Died drunk and embittered, an old man in Rome
While a century ago in the flowers of the Dingle
The old arbour gateway found a new home.
Now who’s to remember the Shoemakers’ Guild
Or the Jacobite rebels who fought for a throne?
And who’s left to grieve for Tom Anderson
But these two hearts of stone?

We are but images of stone
Do us no harm
We can do none
St. Crispin and St. Crispian are we
On the arch of the Shoemaker’s arbour


As promised, a view of the arbour from across the Dingle pond.

And yes, I know that Thomas A. Anderson is the real name of Neo in The Matrix, but I’ve never been quite sure what I could do with that information. :)

David Harley 
Small Blue-Green World

Posted by: David Harley | May 23, 2015

carpenter’s son [new demo]

`Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.

`Oh, at home had I but stayed
‘Prenticed to my father’s trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.

`Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I left but ill alone.

`Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So ’tis come from ill to worse.

`Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same’s the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.

`Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.

`Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.’

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

Posted by: David Harley | May 23, 2015

Nowhere to Nowhere [demo]

Words by Alison Pittaway

Birds made homeless today
The tree fellers came to take their prey
Diggers ripping up the earth
Concrete laid down for what it’s worth
From nowhere to nowhere

Green belt turned grey – why should they care?
Tainted money buys land laid bare
Shifting soil, uprooting pines
Laying down more railway lines
From nowhere to nowhere

Villages and fields torn in two
Digging holes in the hearts of me and you
Earth and rubble shifted load by load
Traffic chaos on the roads
From nowhere to nowhere

Meadows buried under bricks and dust
Lost to the profiteers and money lust
Left us no time to have our say
No time to see what went astray
From somewhere to nowhere

Nowhere to nowhere
Nowhere to nowhere

Posted by: David Harley | May 22, 2015

Birdlime [demo]

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