Posted by: David Harley | April 12, 2019

One Step Away (From The Blues) 2019 [demo]

We recorded a version of this back in the ’80s for which I liked the arrangement, but was never quite happy with the vocals. Finally I have a version where the guitar part and vocal seem to work. Now I just have to think about the additional instruments (acoustic lead, 12-string, and electric slide on the original version). And maybe merging it with ‘Letting Go‘.

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Posted by: David Harley | April 12, 2019

letting go [demo] 2019

You keep asking for time so I’m giving you the rest of your life
It’s been a long way down but you can give it just as long as you like
A fast set of wheels is the only way out I know
I just feel like letting go

Talk about miles of air, that’s all I need
I’m leaving light as I came ’cause that’s just about my speed
I came in 29 and I’m leaving feeling 44
I just feel like letting go

We started out dancing but we’re each doing different steps
And I’m sick of waiting for a miracle to connect
You keep changing the rules but I’ve an end game all my own
I just feel like letting go

Sometimes I get the strangest feeling lying in your bed
While my body makes love, there’s rubber burning in my head
A fast set of wheels is the cleanest cut I know
I just feel like letting go

Copyright David Harley 1982
Posted by: David Harley | April 3, 2019

Blackwaterside [demo]

Posted by: David Harley | March 26, 2019

Chuck Berry-beri [less rough demo]

I don’t feel very much like dancing
No song worth singing but the blues
I used to feel like some kind of sex bomb
Till you absconded with the fuse

I think perhaps I need a holiday
So I’m out here on a midnight cruise
I think I’ve got the Chuck Berry-beri
Got to get a shot of rhythm and blues

I guess there’s no time left for loving
Looking into your backyard
Dissatisfaction guaranteed
But back to you was just a step too far

The waves were blowing higher
And we were shaking at the end of the cruise
It’s a fascinating rhythm
But I need a shot of rhythm and blues

I thought I saw your nightlight flicker
But I don’t think there’s anyone at home
Maybe I’ll call you with the news from nowhere
While I’m stranded by the side of the road

Maybe I still need a holiday
But I can’t afford another midnight cruise
Still I can’t break the habit
I need another shot of rhythm and blues

Words and music copyright March 2019 by David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | March 17, 2019

Scratchpad…

Miscellaneous tune: basically here so that I don’t forget it, in case it comes in useful later on.

‘Home from the Ball’: rough arrangement of a song I just rediscovered. (I think the last time I played it in public was in the 70s!)

Posted by: David Harley | March 3, 2019

Ballad of the Arbor Tree [rough demo]

This is the second demo version: still rough, but now with some basic guitar.

I came across this set of words in a discussion on the Memories of Shropshire Facebook group, and somehow found myself putting a tune to it as I read. This version of the tune is one of my ‘make it up as you go along’ recordings: it may well change significantly over time, and is not in any case consistent between all the verses.

By W.B.H. and apparently dated 29th May 1786, though that may have referred to the wedding that took place on that date rather than the date of printing. It seems that the modern Arbor Day celebration is held on the last Sunday in May rather than strictly on the 29th. The Aston Clun celebration is closely linked with Oak Apple Day as well as with the wedding of 1786. I don’t know exactly when this was published, but the somewhat random initcapping and the use of a ‘thin space’ before colons and question marks is characteristic of an earlier school of typography, perhaps as far back as the late 18th century.

In Aston Clun I stand, a tree,
A Poplar dressed, like a ship at sea.
Lonely link with an age long past :
Of Arbor Trees, I am the last.

Since seventeen-eighty-six, My Day
Is writ, the twenty 9th of May.
When new flags fly and we rejoice,
New life has stilled harsh Winter’s voice.

To greet a Squire’s lovely bride
Did tenants dress my boughs with pride ?
But Old Wives say, my flags are worn
To mark the day an heir was born.

Wise men, mellow o’er evening ale,
Old feuds and wicked deeds retail.
Thanksgiving dressed my arms, they say
For Peace, when blood feuds died away.

Did here ! my father mark the rite
Of Shepherd’s, gone with world’s first light ?
Was England merrie neath his shade
Till crop-Haired Cromwell joy forbade ?

In sixteen-sixty with the Spring
Came Merry Charles the exiled king.
Did he proclaim May twenty-nine
“Arbor Day” for revelry and wine ?

And Shepherds, plagued with pox and chills
Turn to the old ways of the hills,
To “Mystic Poplar”, to renew
Fertility in field and ewe ?

Stand I, for Ancient ways, for Birth,
For Love, for Peace, for Joy and Mirth?
Riddle my riddle as you will
I stand for good and not for ill.

And if my dress your fancy please
Help my flags to ride the breeze
That you with me, will in the Sun,
Welcome all, to the Vale of Clun.

A Research Article from April, 2003, by John Box gives some very useful information. It’s available from a number of places but, most appropriately, here:  https://hopesayparish.com/arbor%20tree/dressing%20the%20tree.html

Here’s the Abstract:

The custom of dressing the black poplar growing in Aston-on-Clun in south Shropshire – known as the Arbor Tree – with flags on flagpoles every 29 May is unique in Britain. New flags are attached to wooden flagpoles on the tree that remain throughout the year. Written records of the Arbor Tree only extend back to 1898, but the tradition of dressing the tree is reputed to date back to a local wedding in 1786. The article attempts to establish the history and context of the tradition and shows how the custom has developed and acquired new meanings, particularly since 1955 when a pageant was devised. The pageant and the celebrations associated with the tree dressing are evolving in response to those living in the local community as well as to the external recognition now accorded to this unique tradition.

Posted by: David Harley | February 22, 2019

Now how long?

Now How Long?

Heard some lonesome whistle blow

How long Lord?

I guess it must be time to go

How long?

When you get those hard luck blues

All you need is walking shoes

How long Lord?

Now how long?

 

Empty pockets, empty bed

How long Lord?

Empty dreams in an empty head

How long?

When you get those walking blues

Radio just plays bad news

How long Lord?

Now how long?

 

Standing by the railroad track

How long Lord?

Heading out with no way back

How long?

Waiting in the pouring rain

Must have missed that Gospel Train

How long Lord?

Now how long?

 

[Optional]

When you hear those cold winds blow

How long Lord?

You know the way you have to go

How long?

Thought I heard the DJ say

Got no reason left to stay

How long Lord?

Now how long?

Posted by: David Harley | February 3, 2019

This guitar just plays the blues 2019

Posted by: David Harley | January 15, 2019

Blackwaterside

Drop D version

Barebones version:

Longer version with intro

 

 

Posted by: David Harley | January 13, 2019

Coasting [demo]

The nights pass slowly, but they pass:
The days are paper-thin.
Life goes on much as usual:
Some games I lose, some I win.
Sometimes I feel that I’m sleepwalking
Through the streets of this grey city,
But then, it’s only been a month or two.
It’s not the first time that I’ve coasted
Through the routine chores of living
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

Today I walked in sunlight though the wind blew cold
Through my coat:
I thought about the coming spring, and I swear somewhere
I felt a twinge of hope.
I don’t expect to hear from you. I guess that’s how it should be:
There’s no point in chasing dreams that won’t come true.
It’s not the first time that I’ve coasted through the aftermath of loving
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

Sometimes I take a weekend walk by these muddy city shores
And old man river talks to me
But I can’t quite understand: my feet stay locked to the dry land
So he drifts on with the seasons out to sea

The weeks pass slowly but they pass
And I drift from phase to phase.
I’m sick of wishing you were here to help me
Through these bleak and restless days.
Sometimes I think I’m waking into another nightmare,
But it passes, as these feelings often do.
It’s not the first time I’ve been lonely, nor the first time I’ve been left,
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

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