Diverse Brew Sessions

These are three tracks from an unreleased album provisionally titled Diverse Brew, recorded around 1985 at Hallmark in London and featuring Bob Theil, Don MacLeod, Pat Orchard, Bob Cairns and myself. The project foundered because one of the guys joined a band whose management company proved uncooperative, as I recall. As the master tapes are now somewhere in Antwerp, where Bob now lives and is still musically active (his web site at http://www.bobtheil.be/index.html includes links to his albums), these were snarfed from a fairly naff cassette tape, so the recording quality isn’t optimal, though I’ve managed to clean them up a bit with Garageband.

The engineer was Steve Hall. The producer was somewhat indeterminate, but Bob Theil had the last word. :)

As far as I remember, on all these tracks I played a cheap but very cheerful Kimbara acoustic (which my daughter still has, if she didn’t get fed up with the warped soundboard) and a Les Paul copy which was a bit inaccurate around the octave but had a very nice chunky humbucker sound. Don MacLeod was using a Sigma acoustic, I think, and Bob Theilwas probably using a Takamine 12-string. No idea what the banjo was, as it wasn’t mine: I’d sold my own John Grey long-tail 5-string by then, and it was long before I bought my Ozark. The piano was the studio’s own grand, and I can’t remember what percussion Richard Davy was using, but I think it was his own kit.

Table of Contents

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

Track 1

One Step Away (From The Blues)

(David Harley)  [All Rights Reserved]
There’s a song by J.J. Cale with a very similar title. This is actually an earlier song and sounds nothing Cale’s. :-)
MP3: One Step Away

David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar, electric slide guitar
Don MacLeod: acoustic lead guitar
Bob Theil: 12-string acoustic guitar

He never wanted her love, just a piece of her time
A loving night now and then, and no loving lies
Just a tender glance from distant eyes
But he learned too late to recognize
That he was far, far away – he’d missed the alarm
Drowning far, far away in other arms
He hadn’t noticed her changing till daylight broke him the news
Far, far away, one step away from the blues

He never wanted to stray far away from himself
He never thought he’d rely on anyone else
For a light in the window, a knock on the door
Somewhere to keep warm when the nights turned cold
But she was far, far away when the blizzard set in
The door stood silent and locked, and he was soaked to the skin
He hadn’t noticed her changing till she left him with nothing to lose
Far, far away, one step away from the blues

He only wanted to give a small part of himself
But she took his heart then found someone else
She never thought he’d give her more than a thought or two
When she packed a few bags and cut herself loose
And went far, far away in search of herself
Never thinking to leave her new address
Neither of them knew he was changing
Till he woke up with nothing to lose
Far, far away
Far, far away
Far, far away
One step away from the blues…

Track 2

True Confessions

True Confessions (David Harley – Don MacLeod) [All Rights Reserved]
Don wrote the tune for this. Very soft rock production.
MP3: True Confessions

David Harley: lead and harmony vocals, acoustic lead guitar, electric lead guitars
Don MacLeod: acoustic guitar, piano
Richard Davy: percussion
Anna (Lin) Thompson: additional vocals

You don’t have to talk, you know it’s really not a case
Of finding words for filling in our time and space
I’ll still be here tomorrow, if that’s what you want too
Who else could take me where we’ve been?
No-one else but you

The day was a river of darkness
Till you brightened up the night
And that’s the best of good reasons
To come close and turn down the light

There’s a lot to say, a lot I guess we should discuss
But surely later would be soon enough
I’ll still be here tomorrow, if that’s what you want too
Who else could take me where we’ve been?
No-one else but you

It’s not the time for true confessions
Lying here still aglow
With all your warmth and softness
God knows there’s nowhere else I’d want to go

We could talk of time and changes, good trips and bad
And just for once time is on our side
But now’s the time for loving and resting so close
And yesterday is dreams and nursery rhymes
I’ll still be here tomorrow, if that’s what you want too
Who else could take me where we’ve been?
No-one else but you
Who else could take me where we’ve been?
No-one else but you

Track 3

Heatwave

Heatwave (David Harley) [All Rights Reserved]
The song wasn’t based on any particular incident, just a feeling about living in London at that time. I guess those feelings were justified, since the rioting at Broadwater Farm took place a few weeks after I wrote it. The banjo belonged to the studio (Hallmark, London): it was a five-string in conventional G tuning, but I played it (slightly) tremolo with a flat pick to suggest a folkie/Irish tenor banjo sound.  I can’t altogether like the last verse: I’d probably change or omit some lines if I was to sing it now.
MP3: Heatwave

There’s a heatwave in the city and the day drags on forever
The tarmac burns through patent leather
Clear through to the sole
Ice tumbles through glass as the temperature soars
And the dayshift leaves the nightshift to take over for a while

The city sings at midnight to the well-fed and the civilized
While waiters mop their faces in the kitchen, out of sight
Small change pours in torrents over counters in the bistros
And the moon hangs red and sullen in the dustbowl of the sky

The city is on heat, bare-legged girls in summer dresses
Dodge the lechery of workmen laying cable through the day
But the night turns on the body to sweet pornography
Passions feed on darkness and the body mutes the mind

The city squeals at midnight in its pain and ecstasy
The life-force surges through the veins and soaks the sheets
The couples claw and couple and feed upon each other
And still the hunger rages through the streets

I saw a refugee from Galway with a faceful of stubble
Singing sentimental songs in the underground today
He’s going back to Mother Ireland and the Mountains of Mourne
And he only needs a bob or two to help him on his way

The city whimpers at midnight in its apathy and squalor
From a bench on the Embankment, from a derry in Barnes
From a squat in Deptford, from the winos and the junkies
From the homeless and the helpless, the hopeless and the lost

A refugee from Calvary is preaching anarchy and anger
Through his 40 Megawatt PA
And when the concert’s over he packs his guitars and prophecies
And goes back to his hotel to drink the night into the day

But out there in the streets the word is out all over
The heat are out for action in New Cross and Ladbroke Grove
The temperature is dropping but the tempers are at flashpoint
And no-one lingers on street corners if they’re walking home alone

The city screams at midnight in the agony of anger
The rocksteady revolution pays its homage to its dead
Where dreadlocks meet deadlock the shock tears up the flagstones
And on their righteous anger the riot squads are fed

The Klan charts fiery crosses cloistered in an upstairs room
The architects of reaction spin their bitter webs
Entangling and exploiting the kids with skinhead hairstyles
And no-one dares explain the chaos in their heads

A Pakistani youth lies bleeding in the gutter
A Jamaican girl is raped behind a dockyard wall
Black and white scrawl their frustrations in blood across the charge-sheets
A copper clutches at his stomach where a flick-knife said it all

The city burns at midnight and the blood runs down the sewers
In the ghettoes and the side-streets where the patriots have been
Squad cars and an ambulance cut through the aftermath
And tomorrow’s front pages unfurl to set the scene

David Harley: Vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo, electric lead guitar, 5-string banjo
James Bolam (no, not that James Bolam!): piano

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