Songs Without Music

Table of Contents

Actually, some of these lyrics do have tunes, but they haven’t been recorded yet, though demo versions are likely to be added here as I go along.
overhill

Over The Hill

Words and Music by David Harley (all rights reserved)

Demo version will go here…

You can’t cage a butterfly, not unless you break its wings (x2)
You can cage a songbird, but you can’t make him sing

I went over the hill and I heard some flyer blow (x2)
I’ve been too long in the city: time to pack my grip and go

You think I’m fooling, but honey, it’s a fact
You had a good old mule, but you just broke his back

My good friend Vic Cracknell, who among other musical activities runs open mike nights around Surrey, where I lived for several years, often used to introduce me as someone who plays authentic blues. As a result of which, I got used to introducing this along the lines of: “This is a traditional blues. However, it differs from most traditional blues in that it was written on the platform at Chalk Farm Tube station after an evening at the Enterprise folk club in 1983.” Essentially a 12- bar but with more minor chording than you might expect from a classic 12-bar.
anderson

Thomas Anderson

Words & Music by David Harley, 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 at a Shrewsbury Folk Club reunion last year.

This is a link to a home-recorded demo version that’s actually in better shape than the CentreSound  version, which I’ve now removed from this page. It also includes a lot more background information. Thomas Anderson 

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

Copyright David Harley, 1975

==============================================================
letme

Let me lie easy

Link to backstory and MP3: Let Me Lie Easy 

Words & Music by David Harley: copyright 1975, all rights reserved.

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

I’ve actually written this song three times, though the tune has survived every iteration. The first version of the words disappeared during the break up with an ex-girlfriend in the mid-70s, the second with my first ex-wife. This probably has no sinister implications.

==============================================================
snowbird

Snowbird

Words & Music by David Harley: all rights reserved

I’ve got me a golden needle to help me tie my threads
I’ve got a bottle for my baby and a blanket for my head

So lay down, lay down mama, lay down and let me be
Somehow I feel like old cold turkey has his claws in me

If I had a silver dollar like I had one thin dime
You know I’d clip that turkey’s wings with another shot of turpentine

And if I had me a roll as thick as my right leg
You know I’d fly back up up country like a snowbird to its nest

I’m going back right now, back to my daddy’s farm
If I can find me a rag to bind up my right arm

Soul food when I’m hungry, white lightning when I’m dry
And maybe I’ll get to feeling better by and by

So lay down mama, lay down and let me be
Somehow I feel like old cold turkey has its claws in me

Another song I’ve written several times: basically, I wanted to do something based on the Cocaine Blues/Honey Take a Whiff on Me theme. Eventually this version popped out as a (more or less) eight bar blues around 1976.
==============================================================
oddjob

 Odd Job Man

Words & Music by David Harley: all rights reserved

Odd Job Man MP3

I’m an odd job man, I work by day and night
I’m an odd job man, I work by day and night
I’m a handy-doodle-dandy and my dovetails fit just right.

I’m a Do-It-Yourself demon, got the tool for every use
I’m a D-I-Y demon, got the tool for every use
I’ve got an A1 set of drivers when your screws are working loose

I’ve got the brace and the bit to drill just where you need
Gotta brace, got a bit, I can drill just where you need
I’ve the angle and the rhythm, satisfaction guaranteed

I’ve got the switches and the cable and my fuses never blow
Gotta jack for every socket and my connections never blow
When I overhaul your wiring just lay back and watch her go

I’m an odd job man, on the job just when you please
I’m an odd job man, fix it anywhere you please
If your hardware’s getting rusty, just let me slip you some grease

Reflecting my long-standing interest in Do-it-Yourself. Though I hear it’s more fun if you don’t have to do it all yourself. Ahem.
==============================================================
newends

New Ends and Sad Beginnings

Words and Music by David Harley

There’ll never be a better time for starting something new
I’m spending too much time alone, brooding over you
But nothing comes that easy, and I’ve got so insecure
Since the angel I was slowly learning how to trust is surely finding
Strange ways of turning long-time dreams into nightmares after all

The sun will rise and fall and the night will win again
So I’m promised with no guarantee of stars
And in my street-lit room I will sing some different tune
To the futile rusting chords of my guitar

The beggar-clown will weep as he tiptoes through my sleep
If he knows, he will not tell me where you are
In his hand he holds a candle I reach out to pluck its blossom
And it lies between the strings of my guitar

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